Teryl Scott, a Halifax law firm, partners with the non-profit the Canadian Rights and Freedoms Centre to promote and protect human rights. The Centre is independent of government and their legislatively created human-rights commissions. Lisa Teryl is also working with the Canadian Rights and Freedoms Centre to bring their Legal Café to Nova Scotia.
Canadian Rights and Freedoms Centre
The Centre promotes human rights and freedoms by working with communities, businesses and governments to reduce conflict, repair harm, and build stronger relationships with individuals and communities who are most vulnerable to social injustice.
The Centre adopts a restorative justice philosophy: It seeks to repair the harm of victims by engaging a process that builds personal responsibility in the individual who did the harm and communities that created or contributed to it.
The People’s Legal Cafe
There is a need for affordable and sustainably delivered legal services.
Low income and marginalized citizens often cannot access justice. Legal-aid agencies are underfunded and overburdened. The courts struggle with many self-representing clients who have difficulty understanding the legal process and completing necessary, but complex forms. This problem has been identified by the public, lawyers, judges, bar associations, and justice researchers.
Teryl Scott and its partners, the Canadian Rights and Freedoms Centre and three regional public library systems, have developed an innovative plan to deal with this problem by creating Legal Cafés across northern Nova Scotia. Legal Cafés will exist as a storefront, offering assistance in select public library locations: Truro, Amherst, Antigonish and New Glasgow.
The Legal Café will also be online as an application (powered by Teryl Scott legal forms and questionnaires) capable of simplifying the process of completing complex court forms. Those accessing the forms will pay on a sliding scale, dependent on level of income.
To be sustainable in the long term, the Canadian Rights and Freedom Centre will establish the Legal Café concept as a social enterprise. Profits will flow back to both the Centre and to the public libraries, raising their capacity to undertake other socially significant projects within their mandates.
Phase one is to pilot the Legal Café concept in northern Nova Scotia. Phase two will be to roll out the Legal Café to other parts of Nova Scotia. Phase three will be to market the Legal Café ‘franchise’ to other jurisdictions in Canada and beyond, with franchise revenue returning to sustain further work of the social enterprise.
Donate Now, Create Affordable Justice!
What is required for the project to succeed is funding to build the application and the website. Charitable donations can be made to the websites of any of these libraries: Truro, Amherst, Antigonish and New Glasgow. Just designate the money for the Peoples’ Legal Café!