The Thompson Rivers University Community Legal Clinic (TRU CLC) is the first student-staffed free legal clinic in the BC Interior. The students work under the guidance of a team of supervising lawyers to provide legal assistance and advice in a range of areas to those who would otherwise be unable to afford legal assistance.
On Feb. 3, the TRU Community Legal Clinic opened its 2,000th client file six days away from the sixth anniversary. CLC opened its first client file on Feb. 9, 2016. In those six years and 19 semesters, 182 students from the TRU Faculty of Law have participated in TRU CLC through the Clinical Practice Course for a range of three, six, nine or 12 credits. They celebrated with fancy cupcakes.
“Since 2016, we have successfully represented clients in cases before the Residential Tenancy Branch, the provincial and federal human rights tribunals, the Provincial Court of British Columbia, and the Employment Standards Branch. We have protected tenants from eviction, obtained compensation for victims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination in the workplace, helped workers recover what they are owed by their employers, and protected consumers from being ripped off by unscrupulous businesses,” says Ted Murray, one of the clinic’s supervising lawyers.
Outside the litigation context, CLC also drafts simple wills, powers of attorney and representation agreements for clients who cannot afford to pay a lawyer to assist with this kind of planning. Over the last few years, CLC also helped approximately 20 clients obtain uncontested divorces—many of whom had been separated for decades. Over the next few years, the clinic is working toward representing clients in minor criminal matters and income assistance appeals and providing some of their services on a provincewide basis.