Recent Common Law graduate Christien Levien (’14) has created a smartphone app designed to provide instant legal advice to individuals during an encounter with the police. Legalswipe draws on the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s Know Your Rights handbook to guide users through police encounters via a series of touchscreen swipes.
The new app, which became available for iPhone and Android in July 2015, guides users through specific laws and section of the Charter, and even suggests specific wording for answering police questions. The app also features video-recording and an emergency message system.
As a racialized person of Caribbean descent, Mr. Levien says that police “carding” – where police stop, question and document people during non-criminal encounters – is something he’s had to deal with his whole life. He views this new app as a tool for legal education, to ensure that people know their rights and can make sure they are being respected.
The app was so popular after it launched in early July that the demand quickly overwhelmed its servers. Mr. Levien has now launched a crowdfunding campaign to expand and improve the app.