1997 Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI) Review: Tools for Moving Forward

This seminal report on public legal education and information (PLEI) investigated the role of PLEI in Canada and how to evaluate the effectiveness of PLEI. The report stressed the importance of governments supporting PLEI as a multi-purpose approach to help people better understand legal problems. It also distinguished PLEI from government communications:

"The similarities and distinctions between PLEI and government communications suggest that both serve equally valid functions while meeting different objectives. For example, PLEI is local, community based and targeted to deliver legal information to specific groups or needs. Departmental communications tend to be nationally oriented and broadly targeted to reach particular sectors of the public. PLEI is about education and about how information gets absorbed and translated into understanding. Communications is about whether or not the message is clear and well communicated. Unlike some communications activities, PLEI is not aimed at obtaining greater acceptance of the law. It explains the law in a way which is accessible to the PLEI user. As a result, PLEI information may be critical of legislation - especially if it is perceived as removing rights and making the laws more complex for some."