The Allard School of Law is pleased to announce a gift of $360,000 from the Law Foundation of British Columbia to support an important new project at the law school’s Indigenous Community Legal Clinic (ICLC). The ICLC recently established a new Grant of Probate Applications project, as a direct response to the unmet need for legal services related to estate administration for class action members and other Indigenous peoples.
The aim of the Grant of Probate Applications project is to assist people who are entitled to compensation through settlements resulting from class actions, such as the Federal Indian Day School Class Action and the Sixties Scoop Class Action, which they cannot access because their family members who were the class members passed away intestate. Hundreds of individuals are impacted by this issue, and the value of compensation that cannot be accessed is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.
The project will also assist other Indigenous people who require estate administration to access assets such as pensions, bank accounts, or life insurance proceeds. Additionally, the project will contribute to capacity building for other Indigenous advocacy organizations and legal clinics throughout British Columbia, by enabling the ICLC’s estates work lawyer to provide training and mentorship.
“The probate program at the ICLC has brought immeasurable relief to countless families. Where before these families were stuck in a loop of complex Supreme Court legal work, we now see them being able to focus on the healing from losing a loved one,” notes Salima Samnani, Supervising Lawyer, Indigenous Community Legal Clinic.
“I am thrilled that the Law Foundation is helping to increase the capacity of the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic by funding the Grant of Probate Applications project,” says Dean Ngai Pindell. “This grant is vital to enabling us to serve the estate administration needs of Federal Indian Day School and Sixties Scoop survivors and their families, as well as other Indigenous community members. This is a step toward improved access to justice in British Columbia and reconciliation.”
The law school is grateful to the Law Foundation of British Columbia for their support of and commitment to the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic.