MyLawBC frequently asked questions — Part 2

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 and the legal landscape

What public need does MyLawBC meet? In almost any conversation about the barriers to accessing justice, members of the public express high levels of frustration with the overwhelming amount of information online and how hard it is to identify the correct and reliable resource for their needs. Research into how people find information online supports this view.

MyLawBC will make it easy for people to find what they need. It will empower them to take action to solve everyday legal problems. Instead of spending hours browsing various sites and trying to sort out which information applies to their situation and still not knowing what actual steps to take to move their own matter to a resolution, people can find an immediate answer to their problem that doesn’t involve reading about options that don’t apply to them.

How will MyLawBC help improve the justice system? MyLawBC will increase access to justice for everyday issues, which will improve confidence in the justice system. It empowers people to take actions to resolve their problems before they escalate to matters requiring the courts. MyLawBC will support people in making decisions and accessing resources — from free legal services, including mediation, to advice on when getting a lawyer is the best option and how to do that. If going to court is necessary, MyLawBC will help users of modest means to access easy-to-use self-help guides and support.

Does MyLawBC support lawyers who want to improve access to justice in BC? MyLawBC provides a collaborative tool lawyers can trust to help them make the most efficient use of their time with clients. Legal advice and costs can focus on the more complex and intractable problems. Lawyers who direct their clients to this resource will have better-informed clients and be better able to support the increasing numbers of people looking for unbundled or fixed-fee services. Lawyers will know that clients who use MyLawBC have access to up-to-date, reliable information and forms.

How is MyLawBC collaborative? We actively engaged many non-profits, including among others, PLEI and community agencies, Access Pro Bono, the BC Elders Institute, and government departments, for assistance ranging from consultation, advice, and contributions to the project vision, setting priorities for topic areas, and the generative scrum process used to develop the guided pathways.

We will establish an advisory committee and other working groups as needed among stakeholders, which will help guide the site’s development. The MyLawBC platform provides the opportunity for future PLEI collaboration, as other agencies may lead the development of additional pathways or subject streams.

What consultations did LSS have? We consulted with all major PLEI providers and justice system stakeholders in BC.

My clients have literacy barriers. Can they work through MyLawBC on their own, or will they need my help? MyLawBC will be written in plain language and developed to be usable by people with no legal knowledge. Some people may still need help. We will emphasize user testing throughout development to ensure the site we build takes into account users’ needs and minimizes barriers posed by low literacy and computer skills.