New Brunswick Family Law Information Centre (FLIC)
Access to Family Justice Task Force recommendation for a legal education and information centre for self-represented litigants with family law issues.
Court of Queen's Bench, Family Division
|February 2008||Task Force appointed|
|January 2009||Report of the Task Force presented|
|Fall 2009||Proposed date for pilot|
Access to Family Justice Task Force, led by Justice Raymond Guerette of Campbellton, was appointed in February 2008 and mandated to make recommendations that would lead to:
- more timely access to justice in resolving family law disputes
- expanded use of alternatives to family courts to resolve family law issues
- increased access to legal information and legal assistance in family law matters, especially for the poor, single parents and First Nations people.
Report at publications (2)
Following a release of the Task Force's Report, an implementation committee was formed to implement the recommendations contained in the Report.
One such recommendation is the creation of Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) as part of the alternative model for the Court of Queen's Bench, Family Division, based on the Ottawa Family Court pilot project, which is planned to be piloted in the Fall of 2009.
For the purpose of assisting self-represented parties accessing the Court system (as part of Stage 1), the Task Force recommended a creation of a FLIC, to be located in the courthouse.
Need for a Family Law Information Centre (FLIC)
The self-represented litigant needs our assistance, as does the judge, in the area of the gathering and presentation of the required information. To this end, Family Law Information Centres (FLIC) in the courthouse will benefit everyone in the system.
Ontario has a FLIC in most of the courthouses where family law courts sit. We would do well to imitate them rather than attempting to redesign the wheel. In most family law court facilities, there is a room which could be easily adapted into a technological information centre that includes a step-by-step touch screen to provide an information video on court procedures and required forms, a frequently-asked-questions icon, examples of forms, and simple rules of procedure court etiquette. As well, there should be a vending machine to produce a set of forms which are user-friendly. (Suggested cost per set of forms: $20.) The Ontario forms work very well as they are - for the most part - tick boxes and short answers. The forms, which commence the proceeding, do not require affidavits or specific statute citation. These forms are all that are required to get the self-represented litigant before a judge or other judicial officer in a timely manner.
The rooms would not require personnel for monitoring as they would be located next to the commissionaire or sheriff stations. The content would come from a central computer. Currently, the counter staff in most Family Court offices are not only shorthanded but spend an inordinate part of the day answering questions or having to explain forms to self-represented litigants.