MyLawBC frequently asked questions — Part 1

MyLawBC is a big project and we’ve received a lot of questions about it. We’ve compiled answers to some of the most common questions and, over the course of a few posts, we’ll answer those questions. If you want to read all of the FAQs, you can find them here.

MyLawBC — The basics

What is MyLawBC? MyLawBC is an innovative new online service that expands access to justice. Initiated by the Legal Services Society, this interactive application actively engages users to identify and address common legal problems. Users will follow a guided pathway, which identifies their needs and enables them to take action to solve their problem. This is an entirely new approach to providing Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI) in BC. We will launch MyLawBC by the end of February 2016.

For family law issues, MyLawBC includes a negotiation platform where former partners can work on resolving issues through online dialogue. Newly expanded Family LawLINE telephone services complement the online features for a uniquely integrated approach to online family law services.

What makes MyLawBC new and different? MyLawBC is markedly different from other PLEI resources because:

  • it engages the user in a series of questions and answers to help diagnose their legal issue,
  • it lays out a step-by-step action plan to address that issue, and
  • it includes a family negotiation platform, with the potential for additional dispute resolution services at a later date.

By having a “conversation” with the user, MyLawBC can customize the information provided to the user and only give them what they need to know. By supporting conversations between people in conflict through the negotiation platform, MyLawBC supports the early resolution of family problems.

What is a guided pathway? Guided pathways are a way for the site to diagnose a legal problem and lead the user to appropriate next steps. As users navigate the site, they will be asked a series of questions. Their answers to these questions will determine the information and the resources they see and, ultimately, the action plan they receive at the end of the pathway.

Guided pathways are already familiar to many British Columbians in other contexts, such as taxes and health. MyLawBC is part of an international movement to provide legal information in new and innovative ways, taking advantage of continuing developments in technology.

What is the negotiation platform? This is the tool that lets both people in a conflict chat with each other online and develop an agreement together that resolves the issues. For family law disputes, the negotiation platform encourages reflection on common goals and interests that may aid resolution. It provides a format using legal information and standard phrasing that will lead to a separation agreement developed by both parties.

What areas of law will MyLawBC cover? When the site first launches, it will focus on:

  • family law issues around divorce and separation,
  • family violence,
  • advanced life planning,
  • wills and estates, and
  • foreclosure.

As we move forward, we envision the site growing to cover more areas of law that touch the everyday lives of ordinary British Columbians.

How did LSS choose these topics? We reviewed BC literature on legal needs, including LSS-Law Foundation funded reports, and consulted with PLEI providers to determine priority needs and audiences. We chose topics that respond to those priorities, taking into account available resources and taking care not to duplicate efforts where other agencies plan to respond to those priorities.

Does MyLawBC replace the Family Law website, Aboriginal website, and LSS’ other PLEI materials? No. MyLawBC does not replace the Family Law in BC website, Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC website, or any of our other PLEI materials. It is an entirely different way to access legal information. MyLawBC will guide people to take actions that are unique to their situation, and support them to better understand, manage, and/or resolve their legal issues.

How will LSS measure MyLawBC’s success? We will track the site’s usage to find what is or isn’t working in the guided pathways. In addition, we will gather feedback through multiple web surveys and in-person focus groups to ensure MyLawBC delivers the innovative solutions we aim for.