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Legal Advice

When citizens need to understand their legal rights and options for addressing an environmental problem, they turn to West Coast Environmental Law, the most respected source of free environmental law advice available in British Columbia. Each year, our staff lawyers provide hundreds of hours of legal information and advice to scores of concerned citizens and advocacy groups facing environmental problems. By understanding the legal issues and options, citizens can make informed decisions to protect their local environment.

In most cases, our legal advice will be at a basic level involving an initial conversation about the law and legal options to address an environmental concern. On occasion, where it is likely to result in an immediate environmental benefit, our lawyers will write a simple letter or make a telephone call to a government decision-maker.

If you receive legal advice and it helps you solve your environmental problem, please share your story with us. Following are just a few examples of some of the successes resulting from legal advice we have provided in the past:

  • An environmental assessment of a major resort was put on hold to allow better information to be collected;
  • A public advisory committee was put in place to examine concerns about a highway project;
  • A medical health officer recommended changes to Vancouver’s bylaws dealing with wood smoke; and
  • A municipal proposal to build a road through a park was dropped.

If you have an environmental concern and need to talk to a lawyer, please feel free to e-mail us at admin@wcel.org or to phone 604-684-7378, or, toll-free in BC, 1-800-330-9235. Please note that we are an environmental organization, and we will not provide legal advice for matters that, in the opinion of our staff, are contrary to the environmental objectives of West Coast Environmental Law. Any legal advice given by West Coast Environmental Law staff is subject to our legal advice policy.

If our staff feels that an environmental problem requires more than basic legal advice, we may encourage you to apply to our Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund and/or refer you to a private lawyer.
 

An additional resource that may be of assistance in researching potential resolutions to your environmental conflict is Clicklaw.  Clicklaw is a website aimed at enhancing access to justice in British Columbia. It features legal information and education, but it is not a site of laws. Clicklaw is operated by the Courthouse Libraries BC as part of their mission to improve public access to legal information.  Use the widet below to help you identify resources listed by Clicklaw: