At CTC-2015, Ms. Audrey Jun from Courthouse Libraries BC (see bio below) received the first James E. McMillan Award (McMillan Award) for Innovation in Court Technology for their Clicklaw system. An extract from her submission is shown below. A full version of her paper is also available by clicking here.
“Clicklaw (www.clicklaw.bc.ca) is a website that provides a centralized point where people in the province of British Columbia (BC) can find legal information and resources from trusted contributor organizations, ranging from non-profit charities to government ministries. The focus is provincial, as like the United States, Canada has a federal system whereby provinces are given powers over certain areas such as hospitals and education.
Clicklaw is managed by Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC), a non-profit society that provides legal information services to members of BC’s law society, the provincial judiciary, and the public. CLBC’s branches are located in 29 courthouses throughout the province, with the central branch located at the Supreme Court building in Vancouver. As the Clicklaw Program Coordinator, I manage the development and maintenance of the website, liaise with contributor organizations, and facilitate the Clicklaw Steering and Editorial Committees.
This initiative represents the first collaborative effort by the numerous public legal education and information (PLEI) organizations in the province to work together to offer their resources in one online space. It was launched in 2009 as a beta website, originally with project funding from the Law Foundation of BC. Contributor organizations are truly engaged in the process. They manage information about their own resources by adding and editing information directly on Clicklaw, make suggestions for additions to commonly-asked questions on the website, and share information about new resources with the rest of the community. The model is unique; CLBC’s role is to act as a coach rather than a gatekeeper. Clicklaw benefits by having more current legal information, described in a way that resonates with the intended audience.
One of Clicklaw’s core values is user-centered design. CLBC has conducted and continues to conduct usability testing in person and online to obtain feedback and enhance Clicklaw’s user-friendliness. In 2011, Clicklaw added the HelpMap function to the website, which allows users to search by area of law and/or location to find in-person legal help close by. We consult with our Editorial Committee, composed of front-line workers, to identify the ever-changing legal information needs of the public. In 2013, we made the site more accessible to people who are looking for legal information in other languages, after conducting usability testing with settlement workers, new immigrants, and other members of the public.
Canadian legal scholars have acknowledged Clicklaw as an example of a solution to the “problem of civil access to justice for middle income earners – those whose household income is high enough to disqualify them from legal aid but not high enough to cover the costs of litigation,” and as an example of “innovations in delivering access to justice that are available 365/24/7 to anyone able to get online.”
Congratulations to Ms. Jun and Clicklaw for their inventiveness and dedication to improving access to justice that can serve as an excellent model for others to study and emulate.
Audrey Jun, B.A., LL.B., is the Clicklaw Program Coordinator at Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC), a non-profit society that provides legal information services to members of British Columbia’s law society, members of the provincial judiciary, and the public. CLBC’s branches are located in 29 courthouses throughout the province, with the central branch located at the Supreme Court building in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Audrey manages Clicklaw, a CLBC initiative and program, facilitates the Clicklaw Steering and Editorial Committees, and provides support to the Clicklaw Wikibooks and CLBC website.
Audrey was called to the BC Bar in 2014 and combines backgrounds in law, public legal education, and technology. She serves on the Board of Directors for Nidus, a public legal education and information resource centre. Nidus is a province-wide, non-profit, charitable organization established through grass-roots efforts to reform adult guardianship legislation, in partnership with government.