Key Online Links to Legal Services Society (Legal Aid BC)
Community Partners (CPs) provide legal help, information and publications, and refer people to other services and resources that can help them, including legal aid offices and the Legal Aid Provincial Call Centre. They do not provide legal advice and they do not take applications for a Legal Aid lawyer, but they can connect you to the people who take applications and they can help you get all the necessary information and documents ready for the application. The Legal Aid website has a list of all the CP locations in BC (for contact information, click on the location name in the online list).
Do I qualify for a Legal Aid lawyer to take my case? Information about our coverage and financial criteria. When calculating “net income” for our financial criteria, there are a number of deductions – including daycare expenses – that will be taken into account when calculating your net income.
Legal Aid Provincial Call Centre: Phone numbers and hours of service. You can phone the Call Centre to apply for a Legal Aid lawyer, or to be connected to our Family LawLINE (see below).
Legal Aid Offices: A list of all the local agent locations in BC, with contact info (click on the location name); local agents can take applications for a Legal Aid lawyer – an alternative to phoning the Call Centre.
Legal Advice services: Links to information about our advice services, including Duty Counsel and Family LawLINE.
Do I qualify for legal advice? Information about financial criteria for our advice services – different criteria than when you apply for a Legal Aid lawyer!
Legal Aid publications: On the Legal Aid website, you can search our publications by subject, language or title; this page also has our publications catalogue, readability list, and lists of current and discontinued publications. Our publications are free, and are distributed by Crown Publications. You can order our publications on the Crown Publications website.
LSS Family Law in BC website: A wealth of information about family law, including definitions, court forms and many self-help guides, including the new How to write your own separation agreement guide.
Legal Aid Facts: Fact sheets about Legal Aid; various topics.
LSS LINKS: Links to other websites providing information about the law and legal services in BC.
Key Links to Other Organizations
Justice Access Centres (the “JAC”)
The JAC offers a variety of information and services to help with a wide range of family or civil legal issues. The Vancouver JAC is located in Room 290 at 800 Hornby Street (can also be accessed from the north side of 800 Smithe Street) and the phone number is 604.660.2084. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to various closing times. Click on “JAC” above to see the link to other locations in BC.
Clinics and Support for SRLs
The Law Courts Center offers court forms help for self-represented litigants. It’s clinics are run by volunteer paralegals who are supervised by lawyers. No legal advice is given. The clinics are free except for the temporary foreign caregivers uncontested divorce clinic, which is $25.00. Five clinics operate on Wednesday evenings at various locations.
Notable resources are: Law Courts Center: Simplified Court Orders for Family Law
Law Courts Center Guide to Civil Litigation in the Supreme Court of BC for Self-Represented Litigants (extract). This Guide has several sections to it and during our clinics, we provide the SRL the appropriate section that they need.
Canadian Bar Association (CBA): The CBA has these free resources to help the public with legal questions:
- Dial-a-Law is an online library of legal information (prepared by lawyers) in both written and audio scripts that provide basic introductory information on many different areas of law.
- Lawyer Referral Service provides the opportunity to have a consultation with a lawyer for up to 30 minutes for a fee of $25 plus tax.
- CLAS – Community Legal Assistance Society: CLAS helps people deal with many types of legal issues affecting people living in poverty or people with disabilities. However, their services are limited and there are many things they cannot help with. To find out whether CLAS may be able to help you, please read theirGetting Advice section, which describes in detail the kinds of issues CLAS can and cannot help you with.
In the event that CLAS can’t help you, visit their Self-Help section. They have several guides, kits and information sheets designed to help community members learn about their legal rights and navigate the legal system.
Law Students Legal Advice Program (LSLAP): LSLAP is a non-profit society run by law students at the University of British Columbia. They provide free legal advice and representation to clients who would otherwise be unable to afford legal assistance. Clinics are located throughout the Lower Mainland.
In addition, the LSLAP Manual is a reliable source of legal information. The LSLAP Manual is divided into 22 chapters, easy-to-use and provides quick answers to many legal issues. Originally designed as an educational resource for LSLAP students, it is now used by hundreds of organizations across British Columbia. Single chapters are available as downloadable PDF files from this site.
Legal Services Resource Guide: Although this guide was created for people living and working on the downtown eastside of Vancouver, there is quite a bit of information in it that is relevant to a wider, provincial audience. Some of the contents that may be useful for SRLs include:
- Information about accessing services – how to prepare for a visit with a lawyer, advocate or other legal helper; this section includes links to websites where there are tips and checklists about how to prepare for an interview with a lawyer
- Words to know when talking about legal issues – includes links to websites where there are legal terms / definitions
- Information about online legal resources
- Information about organizations that provide legal advice and representation
- Information about organizations that provide public legal education and information (PLEI) resources and services
PovNet: A website that provides online tools and resources for poverty-related issues in British Columbia and Canada. Their Find an Advocate map can help you find out if there is an advocate in your community who might be able to assist you.
Tenant Survival Guide: A resource intended to give tenants a basic understanding of residential tenancy law in British Columbia and what it means to them; produced by the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC) an educational organization promoting tenants’ rights and affordable housing in British Columbia.
Rise Women’s Legal Centre provides free and low cost legal services to women in British Columbia. Services include:
legal advice on family law and related areas,
unbundled legal services (help from a lawyer for parts of your case) that include preparing and notarizing court documents and affidavits;
representation in selected Provincial and Supreme courts (Vancouver area only), and
access to your legal rights.
The clinic provides a safe space for women experiencing violence. Legal services are delivered by upper-year UBC law students who are supervised and supported by two full-time lawyers.
The Centre is at:
201 – 456 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1R3
Call first for an appointment (there is a waiting list and some blackout periods between university terms):
OR email email@example.com
The centre also has a small self-help centre you can use during regular business hours.
Great information for SRLs. New interactive resource HowToSeparate.ca
At HowToSeparate.ca, a series of videos include animations that help guide users through the course. Text is shown below each video and Google Translate can be used to make the content available in 60+ languages. The course also includes a series of worksheets to help prepare users for their next step in the process.
A further innovation is the inclusion of Ask JES Legal Help Services. With this feature, users can call or chat live to get answers to their family law questions. During offline hours, they can get answers sent by email.
JES has produced an A to Z family law course that covers “Working it Out” (Part 1) and “Going to Court” (Part 2).