The newly launched Investor Protection Clinic wants to hear from investors who believe that their funds have been mishandled and who cannot afford a lawyer to help them sort out the problem.

The clinic issued an invitation on Thursday to “investors who believe that their funds have been mishandled and who cannot afford a lawyer” to seek help with their problems.

The clinic is staffed by Osgoode students who are paired with supervising lawyers from business law firms in Ontario. The student-lawyer teams provide free legal advice to qualifying investors on a range of issues.

The clinic was founded by the Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights (FAIR Canada) and Osgoode Hall Law School with funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario Access to Justice Fund. Its creation was announced in September.

“We’d like to hear from investors who believe they have suffered an investment loss as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing,” says Poonam Puri, professor at Osgoode and director of the clinic, in a statement.

Common issues that the clinic may be able to help with include churning, undisclosed fees, and advisors misrepresenting investment risk. The clinic may help wronged investors navigate the legal/regulatory system, help them with complaints, and may represent them at a hearing.

“Institutional investors can take care of themselves for the most part. But most people are not going to have the funds to hire a lawyer when things go wrong with their investments, and a regulator like the Ontario Securities Commission can’t help everybody,” adds Puri.

Marian Passmore, director of policy and COO at FAIR Canada, says the clinic, “will help Ontarians navigate a very complicated area involving securities, banking and insurance products and the firms who sell them. Average investors who have experienced some sort of loss of their investments in some way, and often don’t know where to start when that happens to them.