The Law Society of Manitoba’s New Access to Justice Initiative

By Darcia Senft

The Law Society of Manitoba is pleased to announce that it is launching its “Regulatory Sandbox” pilot project.  The objective of our Sandbox initiative is to improve access to justice by improving access to legal advice and assistance. Individuals, business and organizations with an interest in providing legal services that assist those with unmet legal needs or otherwise improve access to justice/legal services are encouraged to apply.


The Law Society’s regulatory sandbox will provide a structured environment that permits individuals who are not lawyers and organizations that are not law firms to pilot their proposals for providing effect legal advice and assistance. It will also permit lawyers and law firms to pilot proposals for the deliver of legal services in innovative ways to improve access to these services.


This initiative is open to any type of legal service provider – persons who are not lawyers, businesses, not-for-profit organizations, lawyers and law firms. The project is designed for any providers who are seeking to deliver legal services to consumers in new ways for the purpose of addressing the public’s unmet legal needs and improving access to legal services.


Other law societies have initiated similar pilot projects.  Examples of some approved applicants include the following:

Assistance with Small Claims court matters:

  • Preparation of court forms;
  • Preparation of pleadings;
  • Filing and serving of court documents;
  • Legal advice;
  • Research on legal matters; and
  • Negotiate and facilitate settlements;

Assistance with Residential Tenancy matters:

  • Legal advice;
  • Document drafting: and
  • Advocacy during hearings or during the settlement process;

Human resources consulting services through a law corporation such as:

  • Interpretation of Employment Standards, Human Rights, contractual details/language, termination, and severance provisions; and
  • The services will be provided under the supervision of a practising lawyer

Legal coaching:

  • Organizational assistance by helping clients to gather appropriate documentation relating to separation agreements, assisting clients with preparing financial statements, and reviewing documentation or correspondence;
  • Procedural assistance by helping the client understand and navigate the family law system;
  • Presentation assistance by explaining what clients can expect to happen when the client appears in a mediation session and/or court;
  • Drafting assistance with preparing mediation briefs, and proofreading documents prepared by the client;
  • Preparing and setting expectations for clients by explaining a range of possible outcomes;
  • Research assistance by using various online resources; and
  • Referral assistance by referring clients to lawyers where appropriate.

Paralegal providing specified legal services in the area of family law, through a law firm, but without direct supervision such as:

  • Processing desk order divorces;
  • Providing legal advice (excluding highly complex legal matters which will be referred to a lawyer at the firm);
  • Drafting court documents;
  • Negotiating on behalf of clients;
  • Providing information on the amount of child support and spousal support;
  • Conducting legal research;
  • Coaching self-represented litigants in family matters including:
  • Assisting clients with understanding the court system.
  • Reviewing legal work done by clients and providing feedback.
  • Assisting clients in making decisions on procedure and strategy.
  • Providing some limited legal advice.
  • Guiding clients through the legal process.
  • Conducting legal research, providing links to cases to clients and helping clients understand the rules applicable to their case.
  • Assisting clients to prepare and attend their own court matters and mediations.
  • Providing clients with resources to assist them in handling their matter.

Online Digital Platforms:

  • Providing legal information about estate planning documents such as wills, “living wills” and powers of attorney.
  • Users download and complete documents.
  • Should users require legal advice, it is recommended that they contact a lawyer.

Applicants should provide as much details as they can such as:

  • The services they are proposing to pilot;
  • Who they expect to be their clients;
  • How their services will increase/improve access to justice;
  • Who will be part of the pilot and their relevant credentials, education and training; and
  • What risks to the public, if any, are associated with the services or business model they propose to offer.

This information will help the Law Society of Manitoba evaluate an application.  No single question or answer is intended to be qualifying or disqualifying.  They all provide context to help the Law Society better understand the proposed services.


If a proposal is accepted, the successful applicant will be provided with an approval letter setting out conditions as may be appropriate.  Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to demonstrate that their proposal effectively meets the needs of Manitoba citizens in the areas of legal advice and assistance covered in the proposal.  Individuals, businesses and organizations that do not effectively deliver on their proposals or comply with conditions imposed may be removed from the regulatory sandbox.

Additional information and a link to the application form can be found through this Law Society website link:

Regulatory Sandbox Pilot Program

The views and opinions expressed in the blogs are the views of their authors, and do not represent the views of the Faculty of Law, or the University of Manitoba. Academic Members of the University of Manitoba are entitled to academic freedom in the context of a respectful working and learning environment.

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