About the Network
Collaborators: Brea Lowenberger, Director of CREATE Justice and Access to Justice Coordinator, Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Ministry of Justice, Dayna Cornwall, Project Coordinator, National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP), and Megan Smiley, LawMatters Program Coordinator, Courthouse Libraries BC.
The National Trusted Intermediaries and Legal Information Network started as a collaboration among members from the Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project (SALI Project), the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP), and British Columbia’s LawMatters Program. Since its inception, the network has grown to 80+ members from 9 jurisdictions across Canada.
The creation of a National Trusted Intermediaries - Legal Information Network seeks to improve access to plain language legal information and affordable services through community workers who act as trusted intermediaries, such as court services staff, librarians, and social workers.
The importance of ongoing coordination, information exchange, and collaboration across Canada in supporting and creating capacity for community workers is supported by research such as the Trusted Help Report: The role of community workers as trusted intermediaries who help people with legal problems, and, as it states, by “[r]esearchers and academics in Canada, the UK, Australia, and the US”, who have “documented the trusted intermediary approach to helping to address common legal needs”. Recently, the Community Justice Help: Advancing Community-Based Access to Justice report proposes a new approach for enabling community workers (as non-legal professionals) to provide assistance for law-related problems.
Through the Network, we can better learn and understand the ways in which trusted intermediaries, such as librarians and other community workers, can advance access to justice, and how we can better support them. Building off of the Trusted Help Report and Community Justice Help Report, we aim to:
- Use the network to promote information exchange and robust conversation across Canada online and through virtual meet-ups
- Provide opportunities between trusted intermediaries and justice sectors to reciprocally learn how best to meet the needs for legal information
- Identify areas to collaborate to produce webinars and other training opportunities for trusted intermediaries that address unique and overlapping needs of the public and trusted intermediaries in urban, rural, and remote areas
- Avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts, seeking to pool resources and collaborate on projects wherever possible
- Discuss strategies around a national advertising/public engagement campaign, to make the public more aware of public libraries and other sites with trusted intermediaries as an ‘access to justice entry point’
- Share information about best practices around technology infrastructure and triage systems among community workers, libraries, public legal education associations, and Law Society/University Library systems, so that good referrals can be made and credible and plain language legal information is at everyone’s fingertips
- Inform the implementation of data projects and common evaluation tools that measure the impact and legal information provision needs of community workers and the public they serve
- Identify how lessons learned through partnering with this type of trusted intermediary (i.e. librarians) could apply to partnering with other trusted intermediaries
We are interested in serving as conveners of people who are interested in the role of community workers in improving access to justice for Canadian citizens, and are seeking suggestions, ideas, and input to build this Network. Please email us to join our online Basecamp platform, and to share your interest in joining the Network. Send your name, role, organization, and if you wish, a sentence or two indicating your objectives/interest in joining to any one of the collaborators listed below to be added to the platform.
- Brea Lowenberger, Director of CREATE Justice and Access to Justice Coordinator
- Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Crown Counsel, Ministry of Justice
- Dayna Cornwall, Project Coordinator, National Self Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP)
- Megan Smiley, LawMatters Program Coordinator, Courthouse Libraries BC
Michel-Adrien Sheppard, Access to Justice: Join the Trusted Intermediary-Legal Information Network (CALL Blog, Oct. 10, 2020).
Megan Smiley, Join a national network of librarians and legal community staff to help increase access to justice (VALL Blog & Announcements, Oct. 9, 2020).
Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Trusted Intermediary-Legal Information Network (TI-LI) Meeting – The Impact Of COVID-19 On Funding & Program Development (Legal Sourcery Blog, Sept. 1, 2020).
Brea Lowenberger, Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Dayna Cornwall and Megan Smiley, presented "Librarians as Critical Justice Services Providers: Lessons Learned & Best Practices" as part of a Community of Practice Teleconference Presentation and Roundtable of the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters on April 8-9, 2020.
Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Call to Action: Trusted Intermediary – Legal Information Network (TI-LI) at CALL Conference (Legal Sourcery Blog, June 6, 2019).
Brea Lowenberger, Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Megan Smiley, and Dayna Cornwall presented at the Canadian Association of Law Libraries Conference on “The Role of Legal Information Providers and Public Libraries in Promoting Access to Justice: Exploring Opportunities and Challenges” on May 27, 2019.
Related project publications
Beth Bilson, Brea Lowenberger and Graham Sharp, “Reducing the ‘Justice Gap’ Through Access to Legal Information: Establishing Access to Justice Entry Points at Public Libraries“ (2018) 34:2 Windsor YB Access Just 99.