|Back to Home||Legalese -February 16, 2012|
Legalese: The “Your Legal Rights” Portal
By Susan Irwin, Executive Director / Lawyer, Rural Legal Services
The breadth of information available at our fingertips is truly amazing and exciting. It can also be our biggest challenge! With so much information just a click away on the internet how can you be sure that it’s accurate and reliable?
This challenge is particularly acute for legal information where currency and jurisdiction are key concerns. Our laws are continuously changing, making it important to ask yourself if the legal information you are viewing is current, or up to date, and whether or not it applies to your situation.
When looking at a website, remember that the law in Canada is not the same as the law in the United States or even Great Britain. You must also consider whether the legal problem you are investigating is within provincial or federal control. For example, the federal government is responsible for the welfare and protection of all Canadians through our criminal laws, whereas the provinces have responsibility over such matters as education and property. Bear in mind however, that the laws vary from province to province as does their interpretation by the Courts. While our common law, or “judge made law”, adds richness to Canada’s legal system, it also adds a measure of complexity that should not be overlooked.
All of this is not intended to discourage you from investigating your legal problem but it is intended as a note of caution. You very much need to stop and consider the source the legal information. Government websites have an abundance of legal information but are not always user friendly. Many law firms and paralegal sites also offer some free legal information but often charge a fee for more specific or detailed information.
One site to consider when starting your search for answers to everyday legal questions is www.yourlegalrights.on.ca. Operated by Community Legal Education Ontario through funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario “Your Legal Rights” is an information portal that allows you to access free, practical and easy-to-find legal information produced by hundreds of organizations across Ontario.
The Your Legal Rights site contains the following features:
If you do not have internet access, or even if you do, but you have more questions or you don’t understand the information on the web, don’t worry, that’s what Rural Legal Services or your lawyer is for.
As a community legal clinic, Rural Legal Services is funded by Legal Aid Ontario to provide free legal information and referrals to the residents of northern Frontenac and northern Lennox & Addington counties.
Legalese is a column of general information and opinion on legal topics by the lawyers of Rural Legal Services, Box 359, Sharbot Lake, ON, K0H2P0, 613-279-3252, or 1-888-777-8916. This column is not intended to provide legal advice. You should contact a lawyer to determine your legal rights and obligations.