Calgary Chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada Gives Law Students the Chance to Help Improve Access to Justice
Laws are supposed to protect people from being wronged by others. Once someone has been wronged, laws are intended to step in to make sure that the situation is made right.
But what happens when obstacles prevent people from accessing the justice system? Many Canadians cannot afford a $30,000 two day trial, let alone lawyers’ fees to file an application. Even the time commitment to see a matter through may be enough of a deterrent to keep people from trying altogether.
This is an issue that Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) is trying to resolve. With chapters all across the country, PBSC puts law students to work, helping regular people navigate the justice system.
The PBSC Calgary chapter run out of the University of Calgary Faculty of Law features 18 different projects that all help improve access to justice. The Civil Claims Duty Counsel Project stations volunteer lawyers and law students at the courthouse to help self-represented litigants organize and prepare civil claims. The Trans ID Clinic helps clients apply for gender-affirming government IDs and provides relevant legal information and referrals. The new French Youth Law Project takes French-speaking law students to Francophone and French immersion schools to give presentations on
cyberbullying, youth and the law. PBSC projects are designed to expand the public’s knowledge about the justice system and provide opportunities to access legal assistance.
Around 85% of PBSC student volunteers have said that they plan to continue doing pro bono work upon graduation. By engaging law students at the beginning of their legal careers, we hope to change the future of the legal profession and increase access to justice.
Visit probonostudents.ca to learn more about the work PBSC is doing to increase access to justice in Canada.