Not having a lawyer in court can make an already intimidating and confusing process even more difficult for Alberta’s vulnerable populations. Missing court is not an option. If someone is charged with committing a crime and they miss their court date, they can also be charged and convicted for failing to attend court on the required date. Having a criminal record can then make it difficult to secure future housing and employment.
How does EFry Assist?
The Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary’s (EFry’s) Court Programs provide support to those without legal counsel as they appear in Adult Criminal Court (Case Management Office), Youth Criminal Court, Traffic & Bylaw Court, and Domestic Violence Court.
As EFry Court Volunteers meet with clients, they carefully explain court procedures and protocols, the client’s options for their matter for that day, and what the potential outcomes of their matters may be. EFry also assists clients with filling out court forms and ordering evidence (disclosure) pertaining to their case.
Beyond providing legal information, EFry volunteers connect clients to extremely valuable legal and community resources. These include referrals to duty counsel present in the courthouse, agencies that provide legal representation to those of low income, and Alberta Health Services’ Mental Health Diversion Program.
Currently, EFry supports clients in various jurisdictions throughout southern Alberta: Calgary, Airdrie, Okotoks, Canmore, Cochrane, Didsbury, Strathmore, Siksika Nation, and Lethbridge.
With EFry’s support, vulnerable clients approach their court appearances in a more informed manner, able to connect to the resources they need to avoid delays related to their court matters.
How to Become an EFry Court Volunteer
More information about the Court Volunteer Program can be found on the Efry website at: