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Human Rights Clinic


How to Apply for Representation

Clinic Overview

Client Services

Qualifying Criteria for Client Services

Education Program


How to Apply for Representation

If you want to find out how to apply for representation click the
"How to Apply for Representation" link above


Clinic Overview

The Human Rights Clinic is a specialized clinic that provides services to British Columbians as they relate to pursuing and understanding their legal rights under the BC Human Rights Code.

Our Coalition, in partnership with the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS), runs a human rights clinic program that offers client services and public legal education. 

Client services include initial information and advice respecting human rights issues, assistance in pursuing a complaint under the BC Human Rights Code, and representation of complainants before the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Our education focuses on promoting an understanding of the BC Human Rights Code and offers preventative training to ensure compliance with Code provisions.  Funding for much of this work is provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General of BC.

These services are offered at no cost on a province wide basis and can be initiated by contacting the Coalition at (604) 689-8474 in Vancouver or toll-free at 1-877-689-8474 You must apply to the clinic for representation.  To do so, you should contact us within 30 days of receiving a letter from the Tribunal indicating that they have accepted your complaint as filed.  Qualifying criteria for representation are considered. 


In addition, an onsite consultation service is offered every Monday between 10 am and 4 pm at the Tribunal's offices in Vancouver.  A clinic advocate will be on-hand to help those that have difficulty framing complaints or replying to applications.   This initiative is offered on a first come first serve basis.

If you are a respondent needing assistance with a human rights complaint, the University of Victoria's Law Centre does run a respondent clinic.  They may be reached at 250.385.1221 or toll-free 1.866.250.385.1221.  An online description of their service is available at www.thelawcentre.ca/rights.html.


Client Services

Initial Information and Advice

Coalition staff can provide you with information on what protections are provided in the BC Human Rights Code and help you determine if your issue or concern falls under Code provisions. We can also offer practical suggestions that may help to resolve your issue, or in the event that you choose to file a formal human rights claim, we can inform you about how to proceed and what to expect. Where your issue falls outside provincial human rights legislation, we will guide you to a more suitable agency or organization.

Assistance in Making or Responding to a Formal Complaint

Sometimes people require assistance in filing and responding to formal complaints of discrimination. At times a phone call, a review of required forms, or providing information and advice on the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure is sufficient to ensure people have access to, and assistance in, complying with Tribunal processes.

This assistance is limited to providing technical information and advice but it is available province wide by phone at no cost. 

Short Service Clinic

Each Monday between 10 am and 4 pm Coalition advocates provide a consultation service at the at the offices of BC Human Rights Tribunal.  By signing a limited retainer complainants can get the help described above plus, we can help to properly frame complaints, ensure all documentation is complete and advise you as to your options and what to expect.


Case Work and Client Representation

Representation works in conjunction with, and alongside, the complaints process of the BC Human Rights Tribunal. Services are initially offered by lay advocates (paralegals) and then by lawyers.  Both clinic advocates and lawyers specialize in human rights law.  To be considered for this service, you must become a clinic client and authorize us to act on your behalf.  Qualifying criteria are considered for intake purposes and you should contact us by phone to fully understand how to initiate this process.   

Once a clinic client, we will review your complaint with you to ensure we have a full understanding of the issues you raise and we will advise you as to your available options. We will work with you to strengthen and support your claim by assisting in the preparation of all required documentation.  We will also represent you through negotiations, settlement or mediation processes, and before a public hearing, should your claim move to these stages. In addition, we will ensure all post settlement and post hearing documentation is filed with the Tribunal. At all times clinic staff will seek instruction prior to acting on your behalf.  


Judicial Review

Either party to a human rights claim has the right to apply for a judicial review of a Tribunal decision.

Clinic staff will continue to represent complainants through this process where a respondent initiates a judicial review.  Where a complainant wishes to initiate this process, clinic staff will continue to represent their client's interest upon a positive evaluation of a review committee.   This committee considers factors such as the merits of the case, the cost and time commitment required, and the significance of the outcome for the individual and the public at large.

Education and Training Program

In addition to the clinic’s client services program, clinic staff conduct public legal education workshops, seminars and training sessions on topics related to the BC Human Rights Code. Sessions raise the general level of legal awareness about our human rights legislation across the province and offer tools to employers, service providers and unions to assist them in complying with Code provisions.

Please contact us directly or view our current education schedule to learn more about this service.

Qualifying Criteria for Client Services

Criteria are based on a number of factors associated with your complaint.  The Coalition will consider and collect data on all of the following factors in determining initial client eligibility:

  1. Are there alternative redress processes available to the Complainant that may reasonably address the issues raised in the Complaint?
  2. Can the Complainant reasonably be expected to obtain assistance from other sources such as a law centre, union, community agency, or professional association?
  3. What is the Complainant’s financial status?
  4. What is the nature of the issues raised by the Complaint?
  5. Does the Complaint raise systemic issues or is the resolution of the Complaint likely to benefit more than the Complainant alone?
  6. What are the merits of the complaint and what is the likelihood of success before the Human Rights Tribunal?
  7. Does the Complaint raise novel issues of law, the answers to which would advance the purposes of the Code?
Once criteria have been considered, all clients must sign a letter authorizing the clinic to act on their behalf.  This letter sets out the terms and conditions of the service provided. Due to clinic capacity we are unable to guarntee hearing representation for all clinic clients.  Please contact us directly for more information. 

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Page Last Updated: March 19, 2015 11:04 AM