Working together with funding that we received from the Law Foundation of Ontario, we will be establishing a virtual pro bono family law summary advice clinic for women who have left abusive relationships and are involved with family court.

This clinic will use web-based video conferencing to focus on under-served communities in the north east region of the province. We are working with a number of community-based violence against women organizations in North Bay, Haileybury, Parry Sound, Kapuskasing, Sturgeon Falls, Timmins and Moosonee.

It is our hope that this pilot project will prove to be an effective model that can be expanded to other parts of Ontario.

Luke’s Place facilitates the virtual legal clinic by:

  • recruiting, training and coordinating lawyers;
  • providing procedures, policies and protocols to partnering agencies and lawyers;
  • selecting the video conferencing technology and monitoring its quality and policies;
  • providing information on technical requirements to partnering agencies and lawyers on how to use the technology;
  • providing lawyer contact information to support workers when service users’ signed agreements are received;
  • connecting clients of partnering agencies with lawyers via the video conference technology; and
  • collaborating with partnering agencies, women using the clinic and lawyers to evaluate and improve the service.

The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic has provided assistance in developing training material for lawyers involved in the virtual clinic.

Service Users

Service users of the Virtual Legal Clinic are women who:

  • have experienced intimate partner abuse;
  • are involved with family law processes;
  • do not have lawyers; and
  • are receiving support from a women’s organization (e.g. women’s shelter).

All consultations include the woman and her support worker located in the partnering agency’s facilities.