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

VicPD seeks person of interest after short-term rental ransacked

Combined losses for damage and theft are over $5,000

Whitecaps favourite switches to the Island

Marcel de Jong worked to end Whitecaps contract, joining Pacific FC on the ground floor

RCMP ask for public’s help to determine cause of weekend fire

RCMP are investigating the cause of the South Island Concrete fire

UVic’s cutting-edge centre leading the way in drones and AI

Centre For Aerospace Research works with partners including Department of National Defence

Langford barber shop donates cuts for veterans’ cause

Hair cuts raise funds for Wounded Warrior Run, which travels from Port Hardy to Victoria

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read