Free legal advice for people with low incomes – BC lawyers volunteer at September outdoor clinics

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Starting on September 4, 2019, Access Pro Bono will begin its 12th annual series of free outdoor legal advice clinics for low-income British Columbians. Under the banner of ‘Pro Bono Going Public’, 130 volunteer lawyers will provide free legal advice in public squares in Vancouver, Surrey and Kelowna while calling attention to BC's access to justice crisis. They will also hold a province-wide telephone clinic on September 17.

‘Pro Bono’ is a term used to describe legal work done without any charge, usually for a client with a low income. It comes from the Latin phrase pro bono publico meaning ‘for the public good’. In the past year, several hundred BC lawyers have provided free legal services to thousands of low- and modest-income British Columbians through Access Pro Bono programs ranging from summary advice to full representation in many areas of law including civil, family, employment, immigration, and tenancy.

Main sponsors of the September event include Harper Grey LLP, the Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Hunter Litigation Chambers, and Lawson Lundell LLP.

These outdoor clinics not only offer people a chance to get free legal advice from a local lawyer – they also provide an opportunity for media to talk to lawyers and their clients about the challenges of having unmet legal needs. While he recognizes the efforts of those currently trying to meet these needs through pro bono (free) services and BC’s legal aid system, Access Pro Bono’s founding Executive Director, Jamie Maclaren Q.C., emphasizes that "available free legal services do not meet the demand from low-income people who know and enquire about them, especially in the area of family law." Earlier this year Mr. Maclaren authored “Roads to Revival”, an external review of Legal Aid service delivery in British Columbia.

At the September clinics, volunteer lawyers will be providing free legal advice in all areas of law including family, employment, civil, residential tenancy, human rights, immigration, debt and collections, at these locations.

Clinic locations, dates and times:

SURREY City Hall Plaza September 4, 2019 10:00am - 2:00pm
VANCOUVER Victory Square Park September 6, 2019 10:00am - 4:00pm
KELOWNA City Park (Rose Garden) September 10, 2019 10:00am - 4:00pm
VANCOUVER Art Gallery (North Plaza) September 13, 2019 10:00am - 4:00pm
BC-WIDE Telephone Clinic September 17, 2019 2:00pm - 4:00pm

To book an appointment, please call 604-878-7400. Drop-ins are welcome but will be based on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information: