Residents can get up close and personal with Canada's Justice System at Law Day in Lethbridge

By Aaron Mahoney (@Mahones93 on Twitter)
April 16, 2018 - 9:39am

LETHBRIDGE - The event that continues to strive to make the legal profession and Canadian legal system more approachable for Albertans by offering a variety of activities and experiences, is happening in Lethbridge this week.

Law Day, hosted by the Canadian Bar Association - Alberta Branch, is taking place on Saturday, April 21, in celebration of the 36th anniversary of the signing of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Lethbridge Law Day Chair Heather Chan says the theme this year is Minions, so it's a very familiar theme to most families and people in Lethbridge.

"The event celebrates the anniversary of the charter, so people can learn more about that and the Canadian Justice System in general. There are all sorts of things that are going to be happening during the day, including a citizenship ceremony," Chan said, adding if someone has never seen one of those before, it's actually very interesting to watch.

Law Day is a free event, that according to a news release, offers educational and entertaining experiences for adults and kids of all ages.

It runs between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Lethbridge Courthouse.

Chan says the big feature of the day is the R v. Minion mock trial featuring favourite characters played by real lawyers and articling students who practice in Lethbridge.

"That basically runs us through the entire trial process in a family-friendly setting, going through all of the steps from the beginning to end of a trial."

Law Day provides experiences for every interest and offers an accessible way to gain insight and knowledge about the field of Canadian law.

Those curious about the judicial system, families looking for fun activities for kids, or students interested in finding out more about a legal career, can all take advantage of the occasion according to Chan.

"The legal system is something that's fundamental to the Canadian way of life," she continued. "And unfortunately for most people by the time they have interactions with the court system, it's usually around circumstances that are unpleasant."

Chan says it's important for people to get to know the justice system, in perhaps a friendlier way, so they can understand how it works.

"What we do, what things they should be worried about or shouldn't be worried about and be familiar with the system. So, that if the time comes that they have to speak to a lawyer or attend court, it's not so scary or unpleasant."

Law Day is a national event, and in addition to Lethbridge, it will be held in six municipalities across Alberta, including Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray and St. Paul.

Alberta Law Day Provincial Chair says Tyler Fric says what makes Law Day so important is that it's a great chance for people to have fun while connecting with lawyers and learning about Canadian law.

Chan says a lot of people come to them for the first time outside of Law Day and they're scared, and they don't know what to do because they don't know how the system works.

"The information provided on this day will help alleviate some of those fears that are perhaps unnecessary. Lawyers, judges and people in law enforcement are decent people who are trying to do the right thing and help people," Chan said.

For anyone who can't make it to the courthouse on Law Day can still take advantage of Dial-a-Lawyer.

It's a province-wide initiative offering 15 to 20-minute legal consultations over the phone for free.

Residents can access lawyers from different areas of law by calling 1-888-644-8950 (toll-free) from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on April 21.

The full array of Law Day events in Lethbridge includes:
- The R v. Minion mock trial
- Ask-a-Lawyer, presented in cooperation with Lethbridge Legal Guidance, offering free legal consultation to attendees; appointments must be made in advance by calling (403) 380-6338
- Guided tours of the courthouse
- Citizenship Ceremony to welcome new Canadians
- Kidz Korner, featuring crafts, games and hands-on activities for children; kids can also take part in a colouring contest for the chance to win one of several prizes
- Forensics demonstration by Lethbridge Regional Police Service
- K9 dog demonstration by Canada Border Services Agency
- Exhibitor area featuring community organizations and various law-related agencies

More information on Law Day can be found here.

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