Virtual Legal Clinic
Provided by RISE Women’s Legal Centre
What is the Virtual Legal Clinic?
The Virtual Legal Clinic lets you meet with a lawyer using video conferencing for one hour of legal help. This is a free service offered by Rise Women’s Legal Centre in partnership with select transition homes/agencies in British Columbia.
What is video conferencing?
Video conferencing connects two or more people using a live, visual connection between their computers. This Virtual Legal Clinic uses the online video conferencing service Zoom.
With the Virtual Legal Clinic, you will be provided with a computer in a private room where you can speak with a lawyer who is in another location, using Zoom.
What happens during a Virtual Legal Clinic meeting?
During a Virtual Legal Clinic meeting, you will be receiving summary advice from a lawyer. Summary advice means that you can ask the lawyer questions about your legal issue and the lawyer will help you understand your legal problem, and help you plan next steps. They will provide you with information about your legal rights and duties, and some of the options available to you, but they will not be able to provide an in-depth assessment or an opinion on your case’s likely outcome.
What can I talk with a virtual legal clinic lawyer about?
You can speak with the lawyer about:
- what your rights are in a particular situation;
- what legal issues you need to think about if you decide to leave your partner;
- what could happen if you leave your partner and take the kids;
- what could happen if you leave your partner and don’t take the kids;
- what to do if your former partner is stalking or bullying you;
- what mediation is;
- what a divorce is and how to get one;
- if court is the right approach for you;
- what could happen in court, if you end up there;
- whether you need to take any special steps if you or your former partner has been arrested;
- whether you need to take any special steps if you are a newcomer and don’t yet have a permanent resident status in Canada;
- what documents you need to complete to start a court proceeding;
- how to respond to legal documents your former partner has given you.
Will the lawyer represent me in court?
No. This free service is only for one hour. After the hour, your relationship with the lawyer ends. The lawyer will not continue to do work for you beyond this one hour.
Who can use this service?
You can use this service if:
- you have a legal issue for which you wish to receive summary legal advice;
- you do not already have a lawyer;
- you commit to preparing for the consultation and arriving on time;
- you understand and agree to the minimal associated risk with transmission of information online.
When can I use the Virtual Legal Clinic?
You may want to use the Virtual Legal Clinic if:
- you don’t know yet if you want to get involved with family court
- you have not started your family law case yet
- you have started your case and you want a bit of help
- your former partner has given you legal documents that you don’t understand
- you have prepared court documents and would like a lawyer to look at them to see if there are
- changes that could be made that might help your case
- you are preparing for a settlement conference
- you are charged with criminal offence(s)
- your partner has been charged with a criminal offence and you want to understand the criminal procedure
- you have precarious or no immigration status in Canada
Is this a safe way to get legal advice?
For most women this will be safe, but any Internet activity carries some level of risk. Ask your agency worker for more information about the possible risks to you. In addition, any written information transmitted through email or Zoom should be printed immediately and never downloaded or saved to the designated computer, in order to protect your confidential information.
Can I do the Virtual Legal Clinic from my own home or from my personal computer, laptop, tablet, mobile device?
No. For your safety, and in order to provide you with the best possible support, the Virtual Legal Clinic requires you to use the service at this agency on a designated computer.
How do I sign up?
Speak to Golden Women’s Resource Centre staff for more information.
For more information about RISE Women’s Legal Centre, click HERE. The Stopping the Violence Outreach Coordinator is available to support women. Click HERE for more details surrounding the Stopping the Violence Outreach program.