2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Student law clinic appoints new executives

By Scott Strasser, December 4 2014 —

Student Legal Assistance Society (SLA) appointed a new group of student executives for 2015. The nine appointed members will begin their one-year terms Jan. 1.

The SLA is the University of Calgary’s non-profit law clinic. The service provides legal assistance to undergraduate students and low-income earners who can’t afford a lawyer.

While nine student executives handle the day-to-day running of the clinic, the SLA also has a board of directors composed of Albertan lawyers who assist and advise them.

Law student Suzan Wurtz is the incoming student director. Both she and Weisenberger said the SLA offers law students the chance to supplement their course work with practical legal experience.

“I saw the SLA as an opportunity to help people, but also as an avenue to develop the skills necessary to my career, such as public speaking as well as client and time management,” Wurtz said.

Law students at the U of C can volunteer as SLA caseworkers. Current student director Elizabeth Weisenberger said almost half of the 350 law students at the U of C volunteer for the SLA.

“We have 150 student volunteers at the moment, which is some of our highest numbers yet,” Weisenberger said.

The SLA mainly assists with non-indictable offences, meaning  less serious crimes.

“If you’re charged with a criminal offence in Alberta and you’re not facing jail time, legal aid won’t help you,” Weisenberger said. “We step in and take any of those non-indictable offences.”

The SLA operates under the Alberta Law Society Act. Caseworkers have standing to appear in the Provincial Court of Alberta, but not the higher Court of Queen’s Bench, which deals with more serious cases.

The SLA doesn’t assist with divorce cases, emergency protection orders and other offences that are typically dealt with through the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Weisenberger said the most common offences the SLA deals with include small claims matters, minor criminal offences, traffic violations and family matters.

“We do bankruptcy discharges as well as civil, landlord-tenant stuff and people suing for breaches of contract,” Weisenberger said. “We also do family applications, so custody and access and guardianship.”


Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet