Legal Help from Home is a Clicklaw Blog series highlighting free or low-cost resources available during COVID-19.
Public health directives associated with the response to the pandemic have changed accessibility to various services, creating what can be a confusing landscape for anyone needing access to legal resources. To ease confusion and highlight resources available and how to access them, Clicklaw has put together the Covid-19 Resources for British Columbians wikibook and will be featuring legal help and tools in this and other Clicklaw Blog posts. The resources featured in this series provide help beyond finding legal info and are accessible from home or remotely.
Navigating forms during COVID-19
Isolation or quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a variety of challenges for people who need help with filling out legal forms. The Amici Curiae Friendship Society offers free confidential workshops that help members of the public complete legal forms necessary to present a matter to a court or tribunal. This service is available to everyone regardless of their means. During the pandemic, the AC Friendship Society is providing virtual appointments in which a legal professional (such as a paralegal) will assist you with completing forms, under the supervision of a lawyer. Sometimes, legal advice is given to help complete a form.
How does it work?
Meetings are conducted via video conference using a software called Zoom. The first step is to receive a 30-minute training on how to use Zoom, then you will be booked for service. If you are a victim of gendered violence or if you cannot use a computer, meetings will be done over the phone. For first time clients, an AC Friendship Society volunteer will help you write your legal history, for reference during your subsequent appointments. This requirement will be waived for temporary foreign workers seeking uncontested divorce applications, as well as for those on a tight deadline.
What can I ask about?
The AC Friendship Society can assist with filling out forms in most areas of law, as outlined here. During your meeting(s), which will run for one to two hours, you may ask for:
- Details on how to fill out your forms
- Guidance on next steps
- Guidance on any additional documents you might need, and
- Direction to further resources to help you down the legal path
The number of appointments allowed is unlimited, meaning that you decide how much support you need before you can move forward. How to Make the Most of Your Appointment with Amici Curiae (Friends of the Court) is a good guide on how to best use your time with the legal professionals at Amici Curiae.
How do I access it?
For more information about obtaining assistance from the Amici Curiae Friendship Society, visit https://www.legalformsbc.ca/
Find it on Clicklaw: https://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/helpmap/service/1180.
To stay informed on resources available during COVID-19 restrictions, visit Covid-19 Resources for British Columbians.