Student Legal Assistance.

AuthorBillington, Susan V.R.
PositionFeatured Back to School

Celebrating 40 Years of Providing Access to Justice in Calgary and Area

In 1979, a small group of law students at the then newly minted law school at the University of Calgary formed a non-profit society to focus on access to justice for low-income Calgary and area residents. Forty years later, Student Legal Assistance (SLA) is a registered charity and still going strong with over 100 law student volunteer caseworkers serving over 600 clients per year with their legal matters.

Located in Murray Fraser Hall at the UCalgary campus, Student Legal Assistance plays an important role in providing access to justice for disadvantaged and marginalized groups who otherwise would be left unrepresented or would remain self-represented.

In recognizing the 40 years of SLA at UCalgary Faculty of Law, Dean Ian Holloway says:

We are proud to have Student Legal Assistance as such an integral component of the clinical legal education program at the UCalgary Faculty of Law for the past 40 years. SLA provides our law students with the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to access to justice for low income Calgary and area residents while building a strong ethic of pro bono legal service. What We Do

Legal services are delivered directly to clients by UCalgary Faculty of Law student caseworkers. These student caseworkers provide information and representation within the limits set out in the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta. This includes agency representation:

* in the Provincial Court of Alberta in criminal, family, traffic and civil matters;

* at certain administrative tribunals; and

* in a variety of outreach programs.

SLA takes on adult clients that meet the fee eligibility guidelines and whose needs are within the scope of legal services that law students can provide.

SLA caseworkers provide agency representation in family law matters heard in the Provincial Court Family Division. This includes cases relating to child access (parenting, guardianship and contact orders), child maintenance orders, and Maintenance Enforcement orders. SLA student caseworkers regularly make appearances in the Family Division and are involved in alternate dispute resolution in family law matters, such as mediation and Judicial Dispute Resolution. SLA cannot assist clients in family matters heard in the Court of Queen's Bench, such as contested divorces, disputes on matrimonial assets, or spousal support applications. As well, SLA student caseworkers do not assist in...

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