The Family Justice Centre
WELCOME TO THE FJC
PBSC, Epstein Cole LLP, and Legal Aid Ontario have partnered to launch the Family Justice Centre (FJC). At the FJC, we aim to address the longstanding gaps in our family justice system by hosting virtual legal clinics for Ontarians dealing with family law issues who are unable to afford a lawyer, but do not meet the threshold to qualify for legal aid services. At the virtual clinics, family law lawyers will supervise law students in the delivery of unbundled legal services to self-represented litigants in Ontario. The FJC will also create public legal education resources to support self-represented litigants in navigating the family law process.
A CLIENT'S JOURNEY
NOTE: Blue boxes indicate work happening outside of clinic hours!
Final forms are emailed to client with resource explaining how to sign, serve, and file the documents
Lawyer, student, and client meet to review final forms
Student sends forms to lawyer for review & approval. May involve:
The exchange of drafts between lawyer and student until forms complete
Student drafts court forms. May involve student:
Speaking again to client to get further information
Speaking with PBSC Program Manager for guidance
Client has family law issue but cannot afford to hire a lawyer
Client makes appointment or drops in for FJC clinic
Law student conducts intake to determine financial eligibility, gather basic information about client, situation
Student provides referrals to client because client ineligible
Client meets with lawyer (student present also)
Lawyer provides summary advice
Lawyer provides summary advice & suggests client proceed with court documents
Client drafts using CLEO's guided pathways
'UNBUNDLED LEGAL SERVICES'?
Also known as ‘limited scope representation’, the ‘unbundling’ of legal services allows lawyers to assist with a specific part of a client’s legal case. Unbundling gives clients and lawyers the freedom to decide which tasks may be performed by the client themselves, and which should be performed by the lawyer, offering a more accessible pathway to justice. The FJC will only be providing unbundled legal services in the form of summary advice and, when appropriate, assistance with document drafting.
LEGAL AID ONTARIO
Request a lawyer referral online and receive a free consultation of up to 30 minutes to help determine your rights and options.
Contact to request free unbundled legal services for your family law matter.
Contact a student legal aid clinic to seek assistance with your family law matter.
Find step-by-step information about your family law matter.
Find a lawyer who charges reduced rates for qualifying clients seeking family law services.
Resource for women/children seeking safety from violence/abuse.
Free legal services for women who have experienced violence or abuse in the areas of immigration and family law.
Free family law advice, information and support for women who have experienced violence, including virtual appointments with family law lawyers.
COVID-19 has amplified inequities in access to the family justice system, resulting in backlogs caused by court closures and the inability of people to pay for legal services due to job and/or income loss. Though we recognize the barriers presented by running virtual-only clinics to those without access to technology, due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is anticipated that all FJC work will be conducted virtually until mid-2021.
It is our hope that by providing virtual clinic services, we will be able to reach clients throughout Ontario, including in remote areas where access to service has historically been limited. Whenever possible, we will endeavour to support clients in accessing technology by providing referrals and instruction, and also by communicating through telephone instead of videoconferencing.