A web app created by RRC students will soon provide an easy way to access and fill out family law documents
By Caitlyn Gowriluk
A new web app will soon provide users with an easy way to fill out basic family law documents, and a group of Red River College students is helping to make it happen.
The app is part of a partnership between local law firm Evans Family Law Corporation and students from the Business Administration program and the Applied Computer Education department.
“It’s challenging,” said second-year Business Administration student Felipe Matoso. “At the same time, it’s so enriching for us.”
Matoso is one of five Business Administration students selected to collaborate on developing a business plan for the app.
“It’s not often you get to work for the good guys in business,” said Dylan Murray, another second-year Business Administration student who worked on the app. “To be part of a bigger-picture solution, even if it’s just at the bottom level, is a huge honour and a massive opportunity.”
The group of Business Administration students started working on the project in November. In January, their work will be sent over to a group of students in the Applied Computer Education department to begin development of the app, which will involve an interview-based process to help users fill out documents.
Greg Evans of Evans Family Law Corporation said the project tackles a significant issue in the legal community: access to justice.
“There’s a distinct population who don’t qualify for legal aid, but can’t really afford legal services, because legal services are expensive,” said Evans.
Evans said the app will target two main audiences: people with low income and people with a do-it-yourself attitude.
Chau Tran, another lawyer at the firm who worked on the project, said there has been an increase in people representing themselves in family law matters.
“They don’t have lawyers, they’re acting on their own behalf,” said Tran. “But there are documents that need to be filed at the court. That’s what we’re assisting with in terms of the software: the document generation.”
Tran said the app is not designed to address complex family law matters. For example, it can help users file for a simple divorce, where both parties are in agreement, but they must meet three specific criteria: no property, no children and no pension.
“The system is pretty overwhelming, pretty complex,” said Evans. “What we’re hoping to do is provide an ability for people who want to be able to go through the system in a way that’s cost-effective.”
The app is expected to be completed sometime in early 2018.