Queen’s Bench Amicus Project

Project Summary

In collaboration with Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA), this project assists self-represented litigants (SRLs) with their civil claims in Calgary’s Queen’s Bench Masters and Justice Chambers. Volunteer lawyers act as amicus curiae and appear in morning chambers to assist SRLs. This project also includes a “storefront” afternoon shift where SRLs can receive summary legal information regarding civil matters. Students participate by providing assistance with triage, client intake, client evaluation, research, and completion of project documentation and court forms. Students can also assist with procedural matters in morning chambers, thereby having an opportunity to practice oral advocacy and provide legal or referral information.

“The courts can be a complex field to navigate, especially if you are a self-represented litigant. I was drawnto the Queen’s Bench Amicus Project because it assists self-represented litigants with their civil claims, making it easier for them to wade through copious amounts of legal documentation and court forms.”

David Mikhaiel, 2L
Project Lead

Number of Students and Prerequisites

– 14 student volunteers and 1 project lead
– Upper year students applicants will be given priority
– No prerequisites required
– Civil Claims Duty Counsel or Student Legal Assistance experience is an asset

Area of Law

– Civil Law
– Bankruptcy Law
– Real Estate Law
– Court Procedure

Legal Skills

– Delivery of legal information
– Client interviewing skills
– Oral advocacy skills
– Public speaking skills

Project Type

Court-based Project

Timeline and Time Commitment

Students will be scheduled for a 3-4 hour shifts every other week. All shifts will be scheduled at the beginning of each semester so students have an opportunity to plan in advance, and around their course schedules.

Students are expected to attend every scheduled shift. However, they are able to swap shifts as long as both the PBSC Coordinator and PBLA Program Coordinator are aware and approve the change. Students can also cancel their shift in advance as long as the PBSC Coordinator and PBLA Program Coordinator are given sufficient notification. The possible shifts for QB Amicus are as follows:
– Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: 9am-12:30pm and 1pm-4pm

These shift times may be modified as part of PBLA’s Program Relaunch Plan. Any changes to shift schedules will be mutually agreed upon by the PBSC Coordinator and PBLA, and student volunteers will be notified accordingly.

Student volunteers on this project are expected to volunteer from October 2020 to March 2021 (excluding December 2020). PBSC students are expected to volunteer 3-5 hours per week. Additional hours are at the students’ discretion. Overall, all PBSC projects are easily manageable alongside academic demands.

Required Training

All training for this project is schedule and provided by PBSC Calgary and the organization. This training will take place in September-October 2020, and will not conflict with students’ course schedules.

In addition to the training provided by PBLA, the following PBSC training sessions are mandatory to volunteer on this project:
– PBSC Process Overview
– PBSC Ethics and Professional Responsibility Training
– PBSC Anti-Oppression Training
– Westlaw Research Strategies Training

Specific dates and times will be provided once volunteers are placed on their respective projects.

COVID-19 Contingency Plan

Student volunteers on this project will conduct all of their project-related work, training sessions, and meetings remotely for the duration of the project. The possibility of in-person work, training sessions, and meetings is subject to directives from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law and Alberta’s public health authority.

How to Apply?

Applications for the 2020/2021 year are now closed. The application deadline for the 2021/2022 cycle will become available August 2021.