Need a lawyer, but can’t afford to get in the door?
A new legal access centre has launched in Kelowna providing free legal advice and representation to those in need.
The Elizabeth Fry Society is holding a grand opening later this month for its legal clinic at 304-554 Leon Avenue.
The society has been operating a legal clinic in Kelowna since September 2021, but has just now gotten established with a physical space.
The centre provides free advice and representation on matters not covered by the legal aid system such as employment law, human rights issues, residential tenancy and small claims.
Elizabeth Fry Society of Kamloops senior lawyer Odette Dempsey-Caputo says organizations often tell people to “talk to a lawyer” when they have been wronged in some way.
“Well, when you have a lower income, there's no lawyer to go to. You can't afford to spend $300 to $400 an hour to pay for a lawyer. And that's what we call the mythical lawyer, you refer them out to this person that doesn't exist.”
“This clinic is that mythical lawyer.”
The legal advice or representation is offered for completely free, with the client paying only for any filing fees required by the courts.
The service is intended for low-income residents, but Dempsey-Caputo says they will always try to at least offer advice to those who they can’t formally represent.
The centre is being funded by the provincial government under an expansion to legal access announced back in 2018 and 2020, Dempsey-Caputo said.
The centre is holding its grand opening on Sept. 20, but if you need help, you can already reach out. More information here.