| Jan 17, 2008

Legalese - January 17, 2008

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Legalese - January 17, 2008 Rural Legal Services: an information resourceby Susan Irwin, Lawyer/Executive DirectorWe encourage feedback about our legal services. One frequent suggestion is that we should do more to let people know about the free legal services available to the residents of northern Frontenac and northern Lennox & Addington counties. In an effort to respond to this suggestion, our first Legalese column for 2008 is devoted to providing our readers with information about Rural Legal Services.

Rural Legal Services is a community legal clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario to deliver a range of legal services without charge under the guidance of an elected, six member, Board of Directors. The following free services are delivered by Rural Legal Services:

legal information casework and representation before courts and tribunals, and public legal education.

The provision of legal information to area residents, regardless of their income, is an important service priority for Rural Legal Services. Legal services are provided by the clinic’s three lawyers, Peter Graham, William Florence and Susan Irwin with the administrative support of clinic secretary, Ellamae Richardson.

While the provision of legal information is open to all, there are certain aspects of our service that are only available to those residents who meet the financial eligibility criteria for legal aid. For example, when we accept a case, such as a claim for disability benefits, agree to prepare documents such as a Will or Powers of Attorney, or commit to represent a person before a court or administrative tribunal, that person’s income must not exceed the prescribed Legal Aid guidelines.

Case law services in the following areas of law are available to financially eligible area residents: Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, Debt, Consumer/Contract, Wills, Powers of Attorney; Landlord/Tenant, Highway Traffic Act & Provincial Offences, Insurance, Incorporation (Not-for-Profit), Mental Health Act, Criminal Injuries Compensation, and Education.

For the purposes of providing “legal information” or for “public legal education” initiatives, our services are available to all residents of northern Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Counties. They include.

identifying whether or not you have a “legal” problem; identifying the legal issues;discussing whether you need a lawyer and how to go about finding one; identifying whether there are other services, such as government ministries or agencies, that may be able to provide further assistance; providing general information on legal topics including the distribution of pamphlets and brochuresorganizing public legal education sessions, and writing this column.

Many people who have never had to see a lawyer before tell us how helpful this service is in determining how to approach or deal with a legal problem.

If you require legal information or require legal assistance, we would like to hear from you. Please give us a call at 613-279-3252 or toll free at 1-888-777-8916. Alternatively you may schedule an appointment to meet with us at our main office at 14064 Road 38 in Sharbot Lake or at our branch office in Northbrook at Land o’ Lakes Community Services Corporation on Fridays.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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.

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