Tips on Assessing Legal Information
Resources on Clicklaw are produced by these trusted organizations from across BC. Whether legal information is accurate is an assessment made at a point in time. You must determine whether information found online applies to your situation. Unless you hire a lawyer, most people cannot give you legal advice, but can only provide legal information.
Legal advice is when someone applies the law to a particular situation, providing recommendations about what course of action would best suit the facts of your case and what you want to achieve. Read more about legal information vs. advice here.
Below is a list of what to do to help ensure that you can understand how to assess legal information and whether it applies to you:
- Quality and curation – We restrict contribution from a select group of trusted contributor organizations in B.C. Unlike information found through Google, you will be sure to find information that pertains to people in B.C. There are additional resources and services added and maintained by Clicklaw and Courthouse Libraries BC staff from non-contributor organizations, which are selected for their relevance and authority. Read more about our Clicklaw Content Criteria and Guidelines here.
- Currency – We include resources only if we are able to tell you the year they were produced. With online information this is not often obvious so we follow up with each organization to ensure we have this recorded correctly.
- In Fall 2016, we added a new “last reviewed”* field to resource listings so you know the month and year that the resource was last reviewed by a qualified expert to ensure content is up-to-date. We are working with organizations to make sure each listing is updated with a “last reviewed” date.
- Accountability – We include the name, website, and description of all producing organizations. If we can’t provide this, we will not include their resources on our site.
- Upkeep – Every two years, we email all producing organizations asking them to review their resources that are on Clicklaw and tell us about any changes or updates. We remove or archive a resource if we cannot reach the producing organization. We also run a broken link check every two months to find any moved or deleted resources.
If you have suggestions or comments about our approach, please contact us.
What you can do
Look for information about the organization that produced the resource. You can click on any producing organization's name and see the information that Clicklaw has for that organization. There will be a description of the organization, a list of other resources the organization has produced, and a link to the organization's website.
- Any legal information you find online should be clear about who has produced it and make contact information available to users. Be wary of "free" legal information that is specifically tied to attending seminars or seeking the paid services of a law firm, real estate agency or Immigration consultant etc.
- Public legal education information is most helpful when it includes additional information or links for users to find help or take the next step in learning more.Try to assess if this additional referral information useful and up to date.
- Contact the organization and ask some questions about their resource. For example, ask if someone with legal training or practical experience wrote or reviewed it.
- Look at the date the resource was “last reviewed”* and find out if there have been major changes to the law since then. You can do this by:
- checking the Clicklaw Blog and Courthouse Libraries BC website (Search the Stream, and New and Notable section) for news on changes to the law;
- reading the legislation. You'll find BC laws at http://www.bclaws.ca/ and federal (Canadian) laws at http://laws.justice.gc.ca, or on CanLII at http://canlii.org – See our Common Question, “I’m doing my own legal research as a self-represented litigant” for resources on how to use CanLII and other research help; or
- emailing or calling an organization that is listed on the HelpMap under the topic you are interested in. If you’re not sure, you can always start by calling the Courthouse Libraries BC.
Contact us if you find out that a resource is out of date or not accurate.
Last Reviewed date
“last reviewed” means
“last reviewed” does NOT mean
Disclaimer: A long period since the last review does not necessarily mean that the resource isn’t still the most relevant or key resource in a particular resource area. Some areas of law do not change for years. That is why you can still use the Common Questions to get directed to good starting points, as well as the “relevance” sort when you sort your search results, in addition to the “last reviewed date” sort.
This page was last reviewed: September 21, 2016