Family Law Resources in BC


family law resources

JP Boyd on Family Law

A wikipedia-style e-book founded by Vancouver lawyer John-Paul Boyd and edited by a dedicated group of volunteer British Columbia lawyers, this site is an excellent starting point for those who don’t know where to go first.This website offers a comprehensive survey of family law, divorce law and the court process in British Columbia, Canada. It’s written in plain language, with handy pop-up definitions for legal words and phrases, and covers pretty much everything there is to know about family law and divorce law in the province

Clicklaw

Clicklaw is a website aimed at enhancing access to justice in British Columbia. It features legal information and education, but it is not a site of laws. Instead, Clicklaw features legal information and education designed for the public from over 24 contributor organizations, as well as selected others.

Dial-A-Law

The Canadian Bar Association maintains an extensive library of extremely detailed, easy-to-read legal information in the form of ‘scripts’ that guide you through various areas of law. You can also access these ‘scripts’ by telephone, by calling 604.687.4680 in the Lower Mainland or 1.800.565.5297 elsewhere in British Columbia.

Department of Justice – Inventory of Services

The federal Department of Justice maintains this handy and comprehensive list of Government-based family services. Includes links to information about Family Justice Counsellors, Duty Counsel (ie. free lawyers to consult with), and how to enforce judgments acquired in BC Courts, among others.

British Columbia Courts

Website for the British Columbia Courts: includes the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the Provincial Court of British Columbia, and the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Contains information about courthouse locations, a database of recent Supreme Court judgments, and basic information about court processes and procedures if you decide to represent yourself. This is the place to go for the very latest judgments out of both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Judgments are generally posted here before they are found anywhere else.

While there is significant overlap in the information offered here as compared with the British Columbia Courts, this website is extremely useful because it contains downloadable court forms in fillable PDF format. Download, fill out, and print off the forms as directed – you can then file the printed version at the courthouse.
 

Law Society of British Columbia

The Law Society of British Columbia is the governing body for every practicing lawyer in British Columbia and regulates lawyers in the public interest. On the LSBC website, you can find links to plenty of additional resources, information on disciplinary proceedings against lawyers in BC (including a search tool to check if your lawyer has been disciplined), a lawyer lookup tool, and helpful tips on working with a lawyer.

BC Laws

The provincial government operates this website as a central repository of all provincial law. Some of the more important laws that you should be aware of are the Family Relations Act, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act, the Family Law Act, and the Child, Family and Community Service Act.

This site is also helpful because it contains the Supreme Court Family Rules.

Department of Justice

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/The federal government operates this website as a central repository of all federal law. Some of the more important laws (and regulations) you should be aware of are the Divorce Act, the Pension Act, and the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
 
Canadian Legal Information Institute

CanLII is a non-profit organization managed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. CanLII’s goal is to make Canadian law accessible for free on the Internet. This website provides searchable access to court judgments, tribunal decisions, statutes and regulations from all Canadian jurisdictions. Think of this site as a search engine for the law. An excellent free resource.
 
Courthouse Libraries BC

The courthouse library is an invaluable resource to lawyers and laypersons alike. The Vancouver courthouse library is open to the public on weekdays during business hours, and provides free access to legal texts, specialized legal search engines, and other resources. Highly recommended.

Legal Services Society of BC (Legal Aid)

The LSS is a government-funded organization that provides legal services for low-income persons. After a brief screening process to determine that you meet the criteria to receive legal aid, your file is referred to a lawyer who takes legal aid files. The lawyer becomes your lawyer, and the LSS pays the bill. If you know that a particular lawyer does legal aid files, you can request that lawyer specifically.

Generally, the LSS will only provide referrals for specific types of legal problems, such as child apprehension, frustrated access, and situations where there are allegations of spousal abuse. If in doubt, contact the LSS and they can tell you about your eligibility for legal aid.

Access Pro Bono

Access Pro Bono is a nonprofit organization that maintains a roster of lawyers who have agreed to donate their time to low-income individuals. Lawyers through Access Pro Bono are not paid for their time, and can either represent you fully, or provide you with more limited help in drafting court documents and providing you with summary advice.

While the services provided are generally not as far-reaching as the LSS, (ie. many of the services are clustered around Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver) the range of services offered and the types of law that lawyers can help you with is wider than that provided by the LSS. Access Pro Bono also screens all potential clients for eligibility before providing any services.

Community Legal Assistance Society

“The purpose of the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) is to provide legal advice and assistance and to use and develop the law for the benefit of people who are physically, mentally, socially, economically or otherwise disadvantaged or whose human rights need protection.”

Generally, CLAS provides more restricted services than either the LSS or Access Pro Bono, limiting its advice to help disadvantaged groups and providing direct legal services through the supervision of law students or through ‘test case’ litigation – that is, a case that they will use in an attempt to set a precedent in the province.

Family Law Information Centre

FLIC services are available in family courts across Ontario. At the family law information centre you can find information about separation and divorce and related family law issues, family justice services, alternative forms of dispute resolution, local community resources and court processes.

Information and Referral Coordinators (IRCs) are available at designated times to help you understand your needs and to make referrals to appropriate services. IRCs can give you information about family mediation and other ways to solve your issues without going to court.

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