May 2017 Events (Online, Burnaby, Kelowna, Quesnel, Vancouver, West Vancouver)

Bookmark this post! It will be updated as more events are announced. You can also get frequent updates via our Twitter. Have a suggestion? Email us.

  • May 2-18 (12:30pm-1:30pm): Courthouse Libraries BC presents various online webinars open to advocates and community workers:

    Webinars in partnership with CLAS, TRAC, Disability Alliance BC, and PovNet.

May 2: A webinar designed for Law-Foundation funded advocates which could also be useful to lawyers and other advocates working with organizations that provide legal advocacy services. This one hour webinar will go over issues that tenants of manufactured home parks may encounter, including evictions under the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act. Amita Vulimiri, a lawyer with Community Legal Assistance Society, and Zuzana Modrovic, a lawyer with Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, will teach the webinar.

May 9: A webinar designed for Law-Foundation funded advocates which could also be useful to lawyers and other advocates working with organizations that provide legal advocacy services. This one hour webinar will present basic information about judicial review for advocates representing low income individuals at administrative tribunals, including the Residential Tenancy Branch. We will also go over the types of files that the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) can take on, and provide advice on making referrals to CLAS. Amita Vulimiri, a lawyer with CLAS, and Samrah Mian, CLAS’s Intake Coordinator, will teach the webinar.

May 10: Established in April 2013, the Social Security Tribunal (SST) hears appeals of several federal benefit programs including the Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, and Old Age Security. The SST inherited a significant backlog of appeals. During that time the Tribunal suspended some of their pre-hearing procedures. In December 2015 the backlog was resolved and the Tribunal has subsequently begun to address appeals in accordance with the governing regulations. In this hour long webinar jointly offered by Courthouse Libraries BC and Disability Alliance BC, Peter Beaudin and Ashley Silcock will review SST policies and procedures as they pertain to Canada Pension Plan Disability appeals.

May 18: This webinar is aimed at advocates representing or otherwise assisting individuals in administrative law proceedings that engage the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In this one hour webinar offered jointly by POVNet and Courthouse Libraries BC, Raji Mangat and Monique Pongracic-Speier will guide you through when and where Charter values apply to administrative decision-makers in British Columbia, including whether Charter values may apply to decision-makers who have had their Charter jurisdiction ousted by statute. The webinar will also provide practical strategies for advocating or assisting self-represented litigants with administrative proceedings engaging Charter rights.

  • May 2-23 (Various Dates): People’s Law School presents numerous events on the following topics in Burnaby and West Vancouver:
    • Family Law
    • Personal and Estate Planning
    • Wills and Estates

Register here.

Wednesday, May 3 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Live Demo of the Personal Planning Registry. Register Online.

Wednesday, May 10 (11:30-12:30pm) Online Webinar: Planning for Health and Personal Care. Register Online.

The BC Society Act, which provides the rules for governance and incorporation of non-profits, officially proclaimed important changes on November 28, 2016. There will be a two year transition period by which time all societies in BC will have to make the switch to the new Act. This workshop will provide the information on the bylaw and policy changes necessary for your organization to effectively make the transition when the new Act is proclaimed.

Stay informed:


Organization of the Month | April 2017

This month, we feature the BC Provincial Court, a Clicklaw contributor.

An Innovating Court

The Annual Report notes that the BC Provincial Court saw 135,663 self-represented appearances in 2015/16. This is a 4% increase, and is the first increase in the past five years.

The BC Provincial Court’s  2015/16 Annual Report highlights several of their innovations: the use of video technology to save transports for prisoners’ preliminary court appearances, an active website and social media presence for more open communication, improvement in caseload management, an open and accountable complaint process, and volunteer activities by the Court’s Judges, Judicial Justices and staff.

Their efforts to serve the public by providing an accessible, fair, efficient and innovative forum for justice also include several notable initiatives with direct public impact: In addition to hosting the second-ever Twitter Town Hall, the Court is also taking greater efforts to improve meaningful access to justice for self-represented litigants (SRLs), and has recently released Guidelines for Using a Support Person in Provincial Court.

Support Persons Welcome

The Annual Report noted that the Court saw 135,663 self-represented appearances in 2015/16. This is a 4% increase, and is the first increase in the past five years. A self-represented appearance means an appearance where at least one of the parties does not have (is not represented by) a lawyer.

The Guidelines clarify that the Court welcomes self-represented litigants (SRLs) to bring support persons to civil and family court trials or hearings, although individual judges still have the discretion to decide whether the support person’s presence would be disruptive or unfair in a particular case.

The help provided by the support person can include: taking notes, organizing documents, making quiet suggestions to the SRL, providing emotional support, and doing any other task approved of by the judge.

The Court hopes that this initiative will bring clarity, consistency and credibility.

Further details are provided in the Guidelines and the Court’s eNews announcement.

Twitter Town Hall 2.0

The Provincial Court ran its second ever Twitter Town Hall, which included participants from: justice system organizations, lawyers, students, and people with legal problems.

Chief Judge Crabtree answering questions at the second annual Twitter Town Hall

The event invited anyone to “tweet” a question to Chief Judge Crabtree, who would endeavor to answer all questions in a two-hour period on April 6th.

As the Chief Judge explained, “Last year’s Town Hall wasn’t just a one-off event intended to make a splash. It was part of the Court’s ongoing communication initiatives dedicated to two-way engagement with the public…It’s just as important that we listen to the questions and comments of British Columbians about their courts and justice system. Our public speaking engagements permit this two-way communication, but Twitter provides an opportunity to engage with more people in a different way and with people who may not be able to attend a class or meeting due to geographic or other barriers.”

The Court received 176 tweets and responded with 129 answers and 9 comments.

Recurring themes included: Access to Justice, “unbundled” legal services, the new online Civil Resolution Tribunal and changes to Small Claims Court, diversity on the bench, using plain language, restorative justice, and First Nations Court.

The success of #AskChiefJudge inspired the Nova Scotia Courts to launch their own #AskaNSJudge event.

Information for the Public

The Court also continues to publish new information through its website. As a Clicklaw contributor, the Court ensures its resources are made more widely available and searchable on Clicklaw.

Read eNews for useful and interesting information about the Court and its work.

The Court’s Digital Communications Coordinator, retired judge Ann Rounthwaite, said “We try to provide people with useful and interesting information about the Court and its work by regularly publishing short eNews articles on the website, engaging in two-way communication through @BCProvCourt on Twitter, and providing helpful information on our website.”

For example, see these resources on Small Claims:

Stay Informed with BC Provincial Court

You can subscribe to eNews and follow the Court on Twitter.
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