British Columbia

The Advocates' Society is pleased to promote to our British Columbia members the following opportunities to give back to their communities.

Access Pro Bono British Columbia Court of Appeal Program

The organization: Access Pro Bono's mission is to promote access to justice in British Columbia by providing and fostering quality pro bono legal services for people and non-profit organizations of limited means. To that end, Access Pro Bono operates a free lawyer referral service and delivers a number of pro bono programs that provide free legal assistance and representation to low- and modest-income individuals experiencing legal problems in a wide variety of areas and courts.

The program: While Access Pro Bono welcomes lawyer volunteers for all of its programs, members of The Advocates' Society may be particularly interested in volunteering to provide pro bono services to clients with matters in the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. This program operates under the rubric of Access Pro Bono's Barristers' Program. The Court of Appeal Program aims to provide some level of legal services to all civil and family self-represented litigants in the B.C. Court of Appeal.

The volunteer's role: There are 3 ways for lawyers to get involved in the Court of Appeal program:
  • Referral Counsel: Referral Counsel act as "point person" for the Court of Appeal Registry on a number of scheduled days throughout the year. Referral Counsel are responsible for meeting with self-represented litigants, assessing their financial eligibility for pro bono services and doing an initial merit assessment. In cases where there is so little merit that services should be declined, Referral Counsel will provide the litigant with summary legal advice and an explanation as to why the self-represented litigant is being declined services. In cases where there is a "reasonable prospect of success", Referral Counsel: (a) take the case themselves; (b) refer it to someone at their firm; or (c) refer it to a lawyer on the Pro Bono Roster (or to another lawyer they know).
  • Pro Bono Roster Counsel: Referral Counsel may refer self-represented litigants whose appeals appear to have some merit to Pro Bono Roster Counsel to represent the client in the appeal. Access Pro Bono maintains two rosters: (1) lawyers prepared to act pro bono for financially eligible clients; and (2) lawyers prepared to act at a reduced rate or flat fee for clients who do not meet financial eligibility requirements but who cannot afford to pay market rates for services.
  • Mentors: Access Pro Bono maintains a list of senior lawyers (20+ years call) and retired judges who are prepared to act as mentors to junior lawyers who are volunteering as Referral or Pro Bono Roster Counsel. The mentors will not have direct contact with clients and will not be “practicing law” but rather will be providing mentorship for the lawyers providing services.
How to get involved: To get involved with Access Pro Bono's Court of Appeal program, email Heather Wojcik, Access Pro Bono's Director of Legal Services, at Or, visit Access Pro Bono's webpage and sign up to Volunteer as a Lawyer. When prompted, select "Court of Appeal (Roster) Program" as your volunteer program of choice.

Please click here to see further national opportunities for all TAS members.