What to expect when you’re expecting (to meet with a legal aid lawyer)

This post originally ran October 9, 2012 on the ELAN blog.

One question we consistently encounter at LSS is “What can I expect when I go to meet a legal aid lawyer?” Many people have never had any experience with the legal system before, so they have no idea what to expect. “What do I need to bring with me to meet a lawyer? Do I call the judge “Your Honour”? Is the lawyer taking too long to get back to me?”

Questions about the legal process are also getting more and more important as more and more people represent themselves in court. We’ve tried to address this topic in our fact sheets How to work well with a lawyer and What you can expect from a lawyer, but the answers to these questions are often complicated and depend on the circumstances. So it was interesting to come across JP Boyd’s Litigant’s Bill of Rights (which he warns is a work in progress).

It’s meant to describe what you can expect when you represent yourself in court. It sets out your rights in the legal system and your responsibilities to that system. Not only is it a good resource for people wondering about the legal system, but it’s also a good jumping-off point for a discussion about BC’s legal system. JP is asking for comments and discussion on the Litigant’s Bill of Rights, so feel free to let him know what you think.