Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan offers monthly legal clinic

MLA John Horgan says many constituents come to his office looking for legal advice

Nearly 10 years ago, Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan noticed something peculiar about the people walking into his office – many of them were approaching him with legal issues, in hope he could provide advice.

So, he did something about it. He approached a lawyer in Langford in 2007 and asked him if he’d be prepared to hold a free legal clinic as part of his pro-bono work, or giving back to the community.

“For me, it was something I couldn’t help people with, so how could I find a way to get them the help that they need within the confines of my job as an MLA?” Horgan asked.

As it turned out, the outcome was overwhelmingly positive.

“It started with the first and third Wednesday of every week for a couple of hours, first come first serve, and we were just swamped,” he said, adding that it grew to such popularity that it now runs on the second and third Wednesday of every month.

Sooke was still mostly out of the loop, as Horgan noticed people were driving all the way into Langford to wait in line on a Wednesday night, but he figured that part out too.

“I approached Tom Balmer, a lawyer in East Sooke, to see if we could do a night in Sooke and take some of the pressure off,” Horgan said.

Now, people can meet with a lawyer in Sooke every second Wednesday of the month, at 6631 Sooke Rd. for their own slice of free legal advice.

“[Balmer’s] averaging around six people a night, and that’s providing some legal advice just to get people started or to let them know that if they want to proceed, it’s going to cost them a bag of money,” Horgan said, noting it gives people the opportunity to explore a legal matter without the need to spend any money, unless they choose to do so at their own expense.

“Most people are grateful for it, and some are repeat customers, and that speaks to a service useful to the community.”

It’s not just lawyers and politicians, though, part of Horgan’s repertoire is Hans Frederiksen, a retired sheriff of the Victoria court system, who helps out with legal advice.

“I enjoy trying to help people, because that’s what it’s all about,” Frederiksen said, who first began volunteering for Horgan in 2006, and brought on board part-time when the first legal clinic in Langford launched 10 years ago.

“You put lawyers and politicians together and something good comes out of it is a surprise,” Horgan laughed.

The next legal clinic in Sooke is Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. with two more on Dec. 14 and Dec. 21 at the Horgan’s Langford office at 2806 Jacklin Rd.

For more information, please call 250-391-2801.

 

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Work begins on new Sooke library

VIRL hopes to have ‘shovels in the ground’ this spring

UPDATED: Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman from Mount Finlayson

Langford and Metchosin respond to roughly four-hour-long rescue

EMCS senior boys basketball team loses to end season

Wolverines lose 71-51 against Stelly’s Secondary

A work of art for real estate golden anniversary

Three generations of Zieglers and 50 years of real estate

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Victoria City rower medals at indoor world championships

Carl Schoch takes 2,000-metre sprint bronze in veteran category

Saanich Braves earn top awards heading into playoffs

MVP, Coach of Year lead Braves against Kerry Park Islanders starting Tuesday

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Most Read