Plain language legal resources

These plain language legal information resources can help you answer legal reference questions. Topics covered include family law, wills & estates, residential tenancies, civil law, and consumer law. These resources are all trusted, vetted sources of legal information created by Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI) organizations in BC. It may be useful to bookmark these resources to have them handy!

JP Boyd on Family Law:

A great resource for questions related to family law, such as separation & divorce, child & spousal support, custody, and family violence. The How Do I? chapter includes practical answers and guidance in response to common family law questions, and in some cases, lists the necessary  Supreme or Provincial court forms with links to completed examples.

Family Law in BC:

Maintained by Legal Aid BC, this site covers family law topics such as separation, divorce, parenting & guardianship, child & spousal support, and abuse & family violence. It can be browsed by topic or searched by keyword, and includes step by step guides to court procedures. 

Online Divorce Assistant:

This BC Government resource helps users do their own divorce (without a lawyer) by asking questions and generating the necessary court forms from their answers. Users will need to have an email address to create an account. This resource is only available for joint uncontested divorces (the spouses are in agreement, don’t need the court to settle anything, and are applying for divorce together).

Nidus:

Nidus personal planning resource centre and registry provides community resources on personal planning, including information on representation agreements, power of attorney, and end-of-life planning.

Wills and Estates Collection:

This collection brings together all the wills & estates Wikibook titles produced by People’s Law School. Popular titles include Writing your Will, Being an Executor and A Death in the Family.

Executor Guide for British Columbia:

This guide is created by the Heritage Trust Company and provides legal information about applying for probate and an executor’s duties.

 

Dealing with an Estate:

This collection by People’s Law School brings together a number of pages featuring step by step guidance to dealing with estates. Pages you might find helpful include:

Consumer Protection BC:

This is the provincial regulator of consumer transactions in BC and can be helpful when answering questions about purchases, scams, collection calls, and product returns. You can keyword search the site, check out their Consumer Tips, or browse by topic

Consumer & Debt Law Wikibook:

This plain language manual was created by People’s Law School as a tool for advocates and legal professionals, but its accessible language and practical format, makes it a great resource for anyone dealing with consumer or debt issues, including contracts, purchases, borrowing money, being in debt, legal actions and going to court.                                                                                                   

People’s Law School’s Consumer Law collection:

'Work it Out’ pages walk users step-by-step through dealing with consumer issues related to cellphones, contracts, scams and identity theft, and more. They also provide template letters to help people draft legal documents. The “Need to Know” pages highlight key information in a clear question and answer format.

Civil Resolution Tribunal:

This online tribunal resolves motor vehicle injury disputes up to $50,000, small claims up to $5000, strata property disputes of any amount, societies’ and cooperative associations’ disputes of any amount and shared accommodation and housing disputes up to $5000. The website has information and guides about applying and procedures. 

Small Claims BC:

Small Claims Court (the name of the Provincial Civil Court in BC) deals with civil court matters seeking claims between $5001 and $35000. This website walks you through the process of starting or replying to a Small Claims suit, the court procedures, and how to collect money awarded by the court or appeal a judgment. It has links to the Small Claims Court Forms, some of which can be filled out online through the Small Claims Filing Assistant.

BC Supreme Court Guidebooks:

These guidebooks are meant to provide those representing themselves in court with procedural help. The PDF guides can be downloaded, emailed, or printed.

Clicklaw:

A directory of plain language legal resources in BC. You can search by topic in the “Solve Problems” section, search for advocates using the HelpMap and find frequently asked legal questions in Common Questions.

Clicklaw Wikibooks:

These online plain language Wikibooks are written collaboratively by lawyers and advocates. All information is reviewed for accuracy and currency. You can use the Table of Contents of each Wikibook to search for information and download, save, or print desired sections of each book.

People’s Law School:

A source of plain language, practical information on civil law issues such as dealing with property or neighbors, employment and benefit issues, drafting or probating a will, and much more... Content is framed around people’s experiences or questions: The Q & A section provides answers written by legal professionals in plain language. For each topic area “Need to Know” pages highlight important information and tips, and “Work it Out” pages provide step-by-step guidance on dealing with legal issues. They also produce publications available in print or online formats.

Dial-a-Law:

Offers broad overviews of legal information on a variety of legal topics, including consumer law, businesses, employment, family law, human rights, wills and estates, resolving disputes, court access, youth and the law, and legal aid. Users can search by topic or keyword.  

MyLawBC:

This site has guided pathways to walk users through a number of legal issues, including family law, foreclosures, and wills and personal planning. Users can use the pathways to make their own wills, separation plans, safety plans, and other legal documents.

Justice Education Society of BC:

This organization provides guides, fact sheets, and videos to help people with their legal matters. Topics include family law, workers, housing, crime, human rights, wills & estates, consumers, debt, lawsuits, the legal system, and legal help.

Legal System Overview:

This page from the Justice Education Society provides an overview of the legal system in BC. There are links to more information about the different levels of court.

Supreme Court BC Online Help Guide:

This website provides an overview of the operation of the Supreme Court in BC, as well as guiding users through the processes and procedures common to Civil, Family, and Criminal court matters.