In order to offer the Small Claims Court Navigator Program, it is necessary to recruit volunteers interested in working in this role.
Where to Recruit? Volunteers may be recruited from a variety of places including:
- Volunteer organizations, church groups, social groups, places that already have existing volunteers and who can recruit new volunteers for this program
- Organizations that provide public services such as libraries and justice centres and can arrange for training of staff
- A group of interested community members who wish to work together to offer this service
When to Recruit? Before recruiting volunteers it is important to identify:
- the need for the program – if the local justice centre is not organizing the training, schedule a meeting with the Court Administrator to discuss expected demand for a navigator service and this will help determine the number of volunteers to be recruited initially
- a coordinator for the program (organize meetings of volunteers initially and support logistical requirements of program)
- a place for holding an in-person meeting of volunteers where training can be reviewed
- a scheduling system such as the use of the free doodle service to coordinate time availability of volunteers to meet
- be clear on the expectations of volunteers (unpaid, time commitment of one half day per month)
- consider meeting locations for the small claims court navigators to meet with self-represented individuals (public libraries, coffee shop, justice centre)
- volunteers want to be kept busy once trained - think about how to match trained navigators with demand for the service – suggest to the Court Administrator at the local justice centre a mandatory referral to a small claims court navigator by small claims court administration staff for any individuals starting or defending a claim for the purpose of a defined test “pilot” period; discuss volunteers’ willingness to be contacted by telephone for information support in addition to or as an alternative to an in-person meeting.
How to Recruit? Tips for Successful Recruiting:
- use a poster ( pdf Poster for recruiting volunteers (168 KB) ) to help your recruitment efforts
- communicate the volunteer opportunity through volunteer organizations, church groups, social groups
- use social media to promote the recruitment drive
- contact local media ( pdf MediaTraining Kit for LISNS (507 KB) ) such as radio, community newsletters and television to help publicize the volunteer opportunity
What is the Experience of Small Claims Court Navigator Pilot Project in Bridgewater?
The first pilot was launched in Bridgewater in the Fall 2015 with 12 volunteers trained in Spring 2016. Volunteers were recruited through a combination of outreach by volunteer organizations, media and word of mouth. Training took place through a series of 3 half day sessions over a 6 week period. All meetings were held at the Bridgewater Justice Centre. As of Spring 2018, there are 5 public navigators from the original group, 3 of whom support the small claims court navigator program and 5 support the wills navigator program. The volunteers come from a diverse range of backgrounds but share a common commitment to helping their communities through quality legal information help. The Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia continues to be so appreciative of their important contribution in providing Nova Scotians with access to justice.