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Raising Public Awareness of Unbundling: It’s Not “If You Build It, They Will Come”!

Unbundled legal services (also called “limited scope legal services”) are part of a movement that is gaining momentum in Canada. We are excited to see that the BC Family Unbundling Roster hosts 150 family lawyers willing to provide these services to families. And the new Ontario Family Law Limited Scope Services Project offers a directory of lawyers together with information and tools for both lawyers and the public.

“There is no doubt that the assistance of a professional lawyer in a family law matter is invaluable. With “unbundling” that assistance can take the form of help in discrete increments where and when it is most needed. “Unbundling” is a very practical approach to improving access to justice for citizens.”

Chief Justice Robert Bauman, BC Court of Appeal

While unbundled legal services are a very helpful approach for many people who are experiencing legal problems, they won’t help unless people know about it! Now that we have practitioners prepared to offer these services and solid frameworks for quality services, building public awareness is the next critical step.

That is why we welcome a new public-facing website dedicated to raising public awareness of unbundling in BC: www.unbundlinglaw.ca .

This new site was skillfully designed by People’s Law School with generous funding from the Law Foundation of BC and supported by A2JBC’s Unbundling Working Group. It offers great information for both the public and those who serve them (lawyers and other trusted intermediaries). The information and tools are available for everyone to use, link to or even embed on their own websites[1]. Take a few minutes to view the animated video on the home page – its great! The site features clean design, plain language and practical tips to help people make well-informed decisions about their legal needs and goals.

PLS also created a brochure about unbundling and the Legal Services Society created a lovely infographic about unbundling, both of which are available on the new website. Hard copies of both the brochure and infographic can be ordered for free from the Crown Publications Victoria Warehouse Distribution facility. Enter “unbundled” in the “search for products” box.

We invite you to:

  1. If you are a lawyer, consider offering unbundled legal services to your clients. There are many potential benefits to you which are detailed in Mediate BC’s Unbundled Legal Services project final report announced here. If you are a BC lawyer you can sign up for the Family Unbundling Roster with a short application form, access the Family Law Unbundling Toolkit and sign up for the CBABC Unbundled Legal Services section;
  2. Help us to spread the word about unbundling by ordering and distributing the brochure and infographic, enhancing your website with this new information, promoting unbundling through social media, organizing information sessions for the public or intermediaries, etc.

Thank you for your support for access to justice in Canada. We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions!

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[1] People’s Law School provides simple instructions about how to embed information on your own website here.

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