Legal health checks – What's your idea?

  • December 11, 2015

The CBA is gearing up to send out its third round of legal health check cards in time for Law Day next April. The cards are meant to be a useful tool for people experiencing a possible legal issue who may not know what steps to take next. Previous cards have dealt with issues including buying your first house, what to do in a marriage breakup and the rights of non-unionized employees.

Do you have an idea for a health check card? Keeping in mind that it should be an issue that is national in scope – so if the laws on the topic vary widely from province to province it wouldn’t be a suitable topic – now’s the time to offer it up. Send your ideas for content to your Section or Forum executive.

Here is a checklist for legal health checks to guide you – note that the checklist itself is laid out in the desired form of a legal health check card. Finished content must be received from Section executive no later than Jan. 15, 2016.

Checklist for writing legal health checks

CBA’s legal health checks are a way of alerting people to legal issues they may not be aware of. They can impart basic information on a particular theme and give lay people an idea of the next steps they’ll need to take to prevent a legal problem, or at least stop it from escalating.

Here’s a checklist for your checklist:

  • There are many examples of CBA legal health checks online. Have a look and choose a format that works for you.
  • Decide on a theme, and a single issue from within that theme that doesn’t need a great deal of exposition and has the same solution across jurisdictions.
  • Write a short introductory paragraph – maximum 50 words.
  • Write a list of things to remember or steps to take when in the situation you’ve outlined in the opening paragraph.
  • Follow a logical progression – first steps first.
  • Use plain language, businesslike but not impersonal.
  • Be consistent – have either boxes to check or bullet points, don’t mix the two.
  • Have no more than 10 boxes or bullet points.
  • Each bullet or box should be no more than two lines.
  • If you have trouble fitting everything into 10 points of no more than two lines each, you may have material for another card. Try narrowing your focus.

The information on legal health check cards is not meant to be exhaustive. The cards are a starting point, a heads-up about possible legal issues that direct people who use them to legal help or appropriate community resources.