New research examines the role of community workers in helping people with legal problems
Recently published research by The Law Foundation of Ontario examines the role of intermediaries in connecting people to legal information and legal help.
The report Trusted Help: the role of community workers who help people with legal problems, which was produced as a result of the new research, offers various insights in to the ways that trusted front-line workers, such as parks and recreation staff, counsellors, nurses and librarians, among others support people with legal problems.
The report suggests that such intermediaries can sometimes act as the only resource people in Ontario access when faced with a legal problem, particularly when they are unaware the issues they have may be legal.
Legal professionals consulted also shared how the consistent involvement of a trusted intermediary helped them better understand a client’s full situation. By its nature, working collaboratively created a more holistic approach to serving the client. The legal professional could address the client’s legal need and also learn about resources that could help with any related issues, such as housing and health, that the client might also be dealing with.
The next steps will be to engage more with the legal and community sectors to find more ways to learn from and work with each other a part of an extended network.