By AC Friends of Court
As courts and tribunals look to continue their virtual proceedings after the pandemic, self-litigants now face the added stress of preparing for their appearance virtually. AC Friends of Court created Tech Check 2.0 to help you, a self-litigant, prepare your digital device and prepare for your virtual appearances. If you decide to ask AC for help completing your legal forms after your appearance, you may do so. AC does not provide legal advice.
Tech Check 2.0 will train you on how to use Microsoft Teams or Zoom. There are Teams/Zoom functions that you will be most likely required to use in your appearance, and thus, required to have a detailed working knowledge of the use.
Here are some questions we might ask:
- Are you in a private space where it is safe to discuss your matter, and will you have access to a private space for your virtual appearance workshop?
- What is the preferred name you would like me to refer to today?
- Are you currently using a laptop, tablet, cell phone or another device? (If other, please specify)
- Is your upcoming appointment scheduled to take place via video or telephone? (Refer to their Notice of Scheduling document, if you have it.)
- Can you see my video clearly? Do you feel comfortable sharing your video in your upcoming appearance, or would you prefer telephone audio only?
- Can you hear me clearly?
- Is there any delay in the connection?
Preparing for your virtual appearance and how to conduct yourself
Key components of self-care and etiquette that Tech Check 2.0 will cover include (but certainly aren’t limited to):
- Being well-rested/getting a good sleep the night before.
- Ensuring you are in a private, non-distracting environment (choosing the best room/background in the house, ensuring your camera is at a good level).
- Dressing presentable (it may be virtual from your home, but it’s still court!).
- Having appropriate screen names and checking your screen name before entering the meeting.
- Ensuring there are no filters on your video.
- Eye contact.
- The importance of eye contact in a court/tribunal setting and advising the court if you are not comfortable maintaining eye contact when speaking.
- Advising the court if you will be reading notes and informing that the lack of eye contact is not meant to be shown as a symbol of disrespect.
- Including an item nearby to ground your emotions.
- E.g. a photograph, crystals, stuffed animal, etc.
- How to request breaks from the court (water, bathroom, triggers, etc.).
- NOTE: This tip can go a long way for victims of gendered violence and Indigenous clients.
- How to request the attendance of a support person(s) at their virtual court/tribunal appearance.
How will it work?
Book your appointment using the AC Tech Check 2.0 online form. We will contact you within five business days to see if we can help you and when. If you have questions, please reach out the following ways:
- Call 778.522.2839, or
- Email legalformsbc [@] gmail.com.
About AC Friends of Court
The ability to independently access the legal system is a challenge for ordinary British Columbians. More and more people are trying to resolve legal matters on their own, and however, most are unfamiliar with properly preparing legal forms or preparing for a hearing.
Amici Curiae Friendship Society (AC) is a non-profit charity offering confidential legal assistance to individuals who require help drafting or filling out legal forms. AC provides services on the principle of equal access to justice, which means going beyond applying a simple financial eligibility test. Equal access to justice includes an assessment of an individual’s capacity to navigate what has become a complex and inaccessible legal system for many British Columbians. And this principle of equal access to justice has become even more relevant as we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can also find AC Friends of Court listings on Clicklaw.
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