The Virtual Legal Clinic serves women in rural and remote communities of Ontario. Foundation grants and lawyers providing freely of their time have allowed Luke’s Place to continue to offer this unique service to isolated women who have been subjected to abuse in their relationships.
The Virtual Legal Clinic uses video-conferencing to connect women in low population areas to family law lawyers based elsewhere.
In many northern and rural communities, there are few family law lawyers. Abusive ex-partners often visit all local lawyers so that these lawyers cannot represent the other party. Women must travel long distances to access any legal services. Court based services have very limited hours in public locations that can be unsafe.
The people who make the Clinic happen
Our trained Virtual Legal Clinic lawyers provide women with free summary legal advice, describe court procedures and relevant family law as well as support completion of court documents. Many of these committed people also provide legal services to abuse survivors in their local communities.
Women’s service providers also play a key role in the Clinic by coordinating and providing a safe location for the video-conference meetings, offering emotional support to the women and helping them to follow through on legal advice. When their agencies join the Virtual Legal Clinic, Luke’s Place trains these workers on family law issues, working with lawyers and using video-conferencing.
This project continues with ongoing support from The Law Foundation of Ontario, which funded our initial research and delivery of the service in Northern and Eastern Ontario. With their support we continue to offer virtual lawyer appointments and will expand the Clinic into rural Western Ontario in Spring 2019.
Previous funding by the McLean Foundation and The George Lunan Foundation enabled us to provide legal resources and training to the workers who organize the virtual appointments in their communities.
Want to participate in the Virtual Legal Clinic?
Women living in rural and remote communities who need family law advice are encouraged to contact their local women’s organization. Contact Luke’s Place at 1-866-516-3116 if you need referral information.
If you are a lawyer or a women’s organization who would like to join the Virtual Legal Clinic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.