There is a huge segment of Canadians who cannot afford to hire a lawyer when faced with a legal issue, but who do not qualify for Legal Aid. These individuals are often faced with only two options: borrow money from friends and family (if this option is even available) or represent themselves. For many people, the thought of representing themselves in court is unfathomable. The court forms are complicated, legal jargon is archaic, and court processes can be puzzling to a layperson.
The people caught in this financial impasse can understandably feel left behind by the legal justice system.
There is a relatively new process choice designed to address this hole. For people who require legal assistance from a lawyer, but cannot afford a traditional full-scope retainer, they may find that Legal Coaching is the answer to their problem. A legal coach is a lawyer who assists and coaches a client through their legal issue. The coaching tasks will vary depending on the needs of the particular client and the client’s own ability to handle parts of the process. The client is technically self-represented, but the lawyer provides feedback and assistance to the client. This provides the client with more affordable access to justice, while also maintaining autonomy over their own legal matter. With legal coaching, the lawyer can provide advice about negotiations and strategy, help to identify legal issues and goals, and assist in drafting court documents (among many other things).
In Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Justice, Law Society of Saskatchewan and the College of Law have come together to establish the Saskatchewan Legal Coaching and Unbundled Services Pilot Project.
To learn more about the pilot project, check out the link below and listen to the CBC radio interview: