Alberta Legal Services Mapping Project: An Overview of Findings from the Eleven Judicial Districts

As part of a far ranging assessment of legal services, the author notes the importance of PLEI which positively affects health and other social outcomes while also reducing legal costs. The author identifies challenges in effective PLEI design and delivery including communicating complex legal concepts to audiences with limited literacy skills, maintaining the accuracy and currency of information and delivery fragmentation. Difficulties in assembling comprehensive data regarding existing resources are traced to the localization of PLEI work. Making PLEI available in venues users are likely to frequent whether legal in nature or not is said to be key particularly in rural areas. Also important is the use of multiple formats including print, web, DVD, etc. No matter the delivery format, access to one-on-one interaction is essential. Gaps appear to exist in terms of information regarding legal processes and for non-English speaking users. Further research is recommended to determine whether it is availability, content or lack of awareness of availability that is at the root of public perceptions regarding unfulfilled PLEI needs. More collaboration between PLEI providers, a singular and up-to-date searchable catalogue of existing PLEI resources with links to them and proactive outreach to user populations are amongst the recommendations made.