In today’s post, we highlight one of BC’s helpful PLEI (public legal education information) organisations, People’s Law School.
People’s Law School is a non-profit which provides free education and information with the goal of making the law accessible to everyone in BC. Founded in 1972 (making 2022 their 50th anniversary!), they focus on information regarding everyday legal problems, such as employment, wills & estates, and money & debt.
Content within these topic areas is divided into ‘Need to Know’ and ‘Work it Out’ pages. ‘Need to Know’ pages provide a basic overview on a legal topic or question and point towards other resources or places to go for help. ‘Work it Out’ pages give more in-depth legal information, introducing people to the topic and often providing step-by-step information to working through a problem.
Here are some examples of each:
Need to Know:
Work it Out:
People’s Law School also has a Q&A section. These are questions that PLS has received from the public, answered, and posted on their website in order to help others with similar problems. Answers cover questions on multiple legal topics, including consumer law, legal problems related to the coronavirus pandemic, and home & neighbours.
For those who prefer print resources, PLS has a number of publications available both online and in print through Crown Publications. Many of these publications are also made available via Clicklaw Wikibooks, which allows patrons to read them online, make their own customizable wikibook based on pages they find relevant, and/or print any pages they’d like to read offline.
Here are some publications you can find both on the PLS website and on Clicklaw Wikibooks:
Consumer and Debt Law – has information for those dealing legal issues regarding contracts, purchasing products or services (including misleading advertising), borrowing money (including mortgages and credit cards), and getting out of debt. LawMatters sent this to libraries a few years back, so you may have one on your shelves too.
A Death in Your Family – this publication covers preparing for the death of a loved one and what to do immediately after death.
Being an Executor – designed for those appointed executors in a will, this publication has helpful information on how to deal with an estate after someone dies, including how to probate a will.
People’s Law School also hosts free webinars on various legal topics. Hosted and broadcasted on Zoom, these webinars are recorded and available on their website to be viewed at any time.
Another PLS resource is Dial-A-Law, which features basic legal information on a wide variety of topics, providing starting points to deal with legal problems. Information available from Dial-A-Law can be accessed either on the website, through the Clicklaw Wikibook publication, or over the Dial-A-Law phone service, which provides the information in an audio format. To listen to Dial-A-Law information, call 1-800-565-5297.
PLS also hosts a directory of family law lawyers who provide unbundled legal services, drawn from the BC Family Unbundling Roster. Unbundling breaks down a person's legal matter into parts, some of which will be handled by a lawyer and some handled by the individual. This means that they can get professional legal assistance at a much lower cost. Although the directory currently includes only family law lawyers, the Unbundled Legal Services website, provides helpful information on unbundling, helping people decide if unbundling is for them and giving them tips on finding lawyers who provide these types of services. Please note that the directory itself is only hosted on this website and is not maintained by PLS like the rest of this site.