Justice Pro Bono seeks to support access to justice in Québec by rallying the legal community together around concrete actions that have a real impact on the lives of citizens in the justice system.
Public Interest Causes program
Justice Pro Bono provides free legal services to citizens and non-profit organizations that are in a weak financial position. If their case is founded in law, they will be paired with volunteer lawyers.
Examination of the eligibility of the applications we receive (coming from all over Québec and covering many areas of law) is conducted by our Approval Committee, consisting of volunteers who are members of the Barreau du Québec and who practice in various fields of law. If the committee issues a positive response, Justice Pro Bono sends the request to a lawyer or firm listed in the bank of hours of free legal services.
This program is a lifeline for citizens in the justice system who do not have access to the government’s legal aid program and who are unable to pay for the services of a lawyer.
Justice Pro Bono expresses its enthusiastic thanks to the lawyers who accept cases under this program. We also note that these members of the Barreau du Québec generally come from small or mid-sized firms as well as from individual practice.
Québec’s first medical-legal partnership
The Montréal Children’s Hospital and Justice Pro Bono recognize that children’s health is influenced by many factors, including the environment in which they are born, grow up, go to school and play. According to the World Health Organization, legal issues surrounding some medical problems may also have an impact. And there are times when being ill or having to look after a sick child may lead to violation of basic rights.
Many patients and their families lack the means to pay for the services of a lawyer to help them deal with a problem that may have an impact on the health of a child or that affects their ability to take care of a sick child.
Since January 2017, free legal services from a Justice Pro Bono lawyer are offered inside the hospital to assist low-income families that face not only illness but also an array of legal problems.
- To hospital patients and their families:
- Information, legal counsel and related services
- Referrals to partner law firms upon the lawyer’s recommendation
- To hospital staff:
- Legal workshops
- Legal training
Justice Pro Bono offers its sincere thanks to the Montréal Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Law Foundation of Ontario for their generous and vital financial support.
Free legal consultations in partnership with Médecins du Monde
During 2017, Justice Pro Bono was approached by Médecins du Monde, which wanted to set up a legal clinic to provide answers to questions from migrants with insecure status who have been met by the organization.
Médecins du Monde works among migrants lacking secure status and medical coverage through a frontline medical clinic enabling these people to be met by various helpers (a social worker, a nurse and, if necessary, a volunteer doctor).
However, needs also existed in the legal field to inform them and advise them on immigration matters (applications for refugee status, sponsorships, application for permanent residence for humanitarian reasons, etc.).
This is why Justice Pro Bono agreed to work with this organization to find volunteer lawyers specializing in immigration law who agree to come once a week and meet migrants with insecure status.
The clinic is held on Thursday afternoons at the Médecins du Monde premises.
Justice Pro Bono offers its sincere thanks to the lawyers who have agreed to become involved on a volunteer basis with this project.
Volunteer legal clinics in Nunavik
Access to justice in Quebec’s Far North is a daily challenge for Aboriginal communities. Concerned by this reality and in order to contribute concretely to it, Justice Pro Bono has set up a mobile pro bono legal clinic in Nunavik. We have visited four communities since 2017: Kuujjuaq, Puvirnituq, Salluit and Kuujjuarapik.
A total of 14 volunteer jurists (lawyers and notaries) have provided information and legal advice to hundreds of citizens of these northern communities through the various clinics. The jurists also took advantage of their time in the region to give introductory workshops on our justice system developed by Éducaloi to high school students.
Justice Pro Bono would like to thank the Barreau du Québec, the Chambre des notaires, the Department of Justice, the Makivik Corporation and the Kativik Regional Government for their generous financial and logistical support.
Developed by Justice Pro Bono, Boussole juridique is a search tool for free or low-cost legal resources available in Québec.
When faced with legal matters, citizens who lack the means to pay for the advice of a lawyer in private practice can turn to community or government legal resources to find the information, support and guidance necessary for them to proceed.
However, this requires an awareness of the available resources suited to their situation.
Up to now, there has been no inventory of free or low-cost legal services in Québec. In light of this, we came up with the idea of creating an accessible, user-friendly and easy-to-understand search engine to help guide citizens as well as those assisting them.
The website currently lists about 400 legal references.
Porte 33: A new project for better access to family justice
Referring to Article 33 of Quebec’s Civil Code, the project aims to offer legal and psychosocial resources, focusing on the child’s best interests, to families experiencing a separation. The project’s objective is twofold: to improve access to family justice and to mitigate the impact of separation in the child’s life.
Porte 33 has three components:
1. A mobile legal clinic
Volunteer lawyers are providing legal information in family law, on an individual basis, as well as useful information to understand how to accompany a child through a separation. These clinics were offered in various Family organizations in 2018 and 2019, and are held virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more details, click here.
2. Training for lawyers (in French)
On October 16, 2018, The Social-Legal Partnership during a Separation: Ally in the Best Interests of the Child training course was held. This training was aiming at preparing the lawyers who will participate in the itinerant clinic. In return for six (6) hours of continuing education, the lawyers committed to offering three (3) hours of pro bono work in the mobile clinic.
On May 1, 2019, the training entitled The dynamics of separation and children’s needs was held. This training was intended to equip the lawyers and notaries participating in the clinic and to provide them with strategies for implementing promising social-legal partnerships. The state of psychosocial research on the needs of children of separated parents and their families was discussed.
Training recognized by the Barreau du Québec for the purposes of mandatory continuing education, for a duration of three (3) hours.
For information: email@example.com
3. An e-book
This e-book is another step in the Porte 33 project, an initiative of Justice Pro Bono, which sheds light on the right of children to have decisions affecting them made in their best interests and with respect for their rights.
The e-book addresses five main themes: break-up and co-parenting, steps to take in a difficult situation, children, asset sharing and finances. available free of charge to all Quebecers, this document is intended to be a visual, simple and interactive tool. Several organizations and experts contributed to its drafting, including the Barreau du Québec, the Chambre des notaires du Québec, Éducaloi and the Association de médiation familiale du Québec.
To consult the e-book (French): Porte 33 ebook
To download the PDF (French): Porte 33 ebook