This is a story of an exciting collaboration between the BC Provincial Court and the website CLICKLAW to provide faster and more effective help for those who find themselves having to represent themselves in Provincial Court cases, be those family court, criminal court, or small claims court.
Clicklaw is a website that provides a centralized portal offering legal information and services from trusted organizations including expertise on various types of content. Maintained by Courthouse Libraries BC, Clicklaw is used by the public as well as by those who help the public find legal information such as law student clinicians, librarians, and community workers.
It was a Provincial Court Judge who identified the problem that the new collaboration is working to solve. She noted that there were a great many online resources that would be useful for those representing themselves in court (known as “SRLs” for self-represented litigants), but no simple way for them to find out which would be the best and most appropriate for them. The judge might well know the best answer, but it didn’t really help for her to be reciting several strings of long URLs in court.
Looking for a solution to this problem, the judge approached Clicklaw. Discussion between the judge and the Clicklaw staff produced a proposed solution: Clicklaw would provide judges, judicial case managers, court registries and other organizations with one-page handouts which would guide SRLs to resources likely to be helpful to them. As Clicklaw is composed of a network of contributor organizations, it would help curate and feature resources it believed would be good starting points, regardless of the publisher.
The handouts feature a single URL, which would allow Clicklaw to regularly update the web pages if links to resources change or new, helpful resources come on line, or if old ones become out-of-date. The URL directs users to a Common Questions page, a section of the website directing users to good starting points for specific problems.
The resources have now been created, and those involved are working to get it well-known and widely disseminated.
The handouts are downloadable as PDF web pages, so everyone can print and distribute them as needed. See them in action here:
- Communications Toolkit
- Starting points for common legal questions
- Where do I start for information on Family Court?
- Where do I start for information on Small Claims Court?
- Where do I start for information on Criminal Court?
If you’d like to know more about this collaboration, please contact Audrey Jun, the Clicklaw program co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.