Legal Aid assists low income persons accused of serious criminal offences who are facing jail sentences, and for youths charged, anywhere in Canada
What kind of cases are covered?
If you qualify financially, Legal Aid may be able to pay your lawyer for some of these things. This is not a complete list. Please talk to your Legal Aid office about your specific case.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, you may be eligible for a legal aid certificate under a separate set of financial eligibility guidelines. If you have an income or own property, you may qualify for a certificate with a contribution agreement.
any offense which will likely result in jail time e.g. assault, impaired driving causing bodily harm, robbery, welfare fraud, break and enter
In Family Matters:
to get custody of your children or to change custody
to get a restraining order against your partner
to remove your partner from your home, in cases of physical abuse.
to establish or to change support payments for you and your child
to establish access to your children where no arrangements have already been made
to help with custody and access rights if your partner is likely to move far away so you can't see your children to threatens to take your children away from you
to help if your partner denies you access to your child
to change access from supervised to non-supervised
to stop your partner from selling or destroying your property
to negotiate property issues, including RRSP's and pensions
In Immigration and refugee matters
refugee hearings before the Immigration and refugee Board
deportation appeals and submissions to the Minister of Immigration for deportation appeals
It usually takes two or three weeks to process your application. Your lawyer cannot officially start working on your file until s/he has a Legal Aid certificate.
Make sure to tell Legal Aid staff if your situation is an emergency. The staff will help your fill out an application and may be able to tell you right away whether you can get Legal Aid. If you already have a lawyer, Legal Aid will mail the certificate directly to your lawyers. If you do not have a lawyer, you contact one while you wait for your certificate.
It takes two or three weeks to get a Legal Aid certificate. If you will require Legal Aid, apply for it promptly. The process can take time and your lawyer cannot start work on your case until you have a Legal Aid Certificate.
Income must be belowSize of Family1$20,0002345$30,500$35,000$42,000$48,000
Do you have to pay anything?
Legal aid is usually free to people with little income or money. People who have a little money but not enough to hire a lawyer may have to pay part of the cost.
If you do have to pay, you will be asked to sign a Payment Agreement which says that you agree to:
pay Legal Aid a certain amount every month: or
pay Legal Aid a lump sum of money; or
have a lien put on your house or property. The lien usually says that you will pay Legal Aid back when you sell or refinance your house, when you renew the mortgage on your house or within five years, whichever comes first.
Legal aid is the provision of assistance to people otherwise unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. Legal aid is regarded as central in providing access to justice by ensuring equality before the law, the right to counsel and the right to a fair trial. Source Wikipedia
What if you are rejected for Legal Aid?
You can appeal. If you are turned down for legal aid. you can go back to the Legal Aid office and ask to fill out an appeal form.
After you have filled out the appeal form, you will get an appointment to speak to the area committee, usually in about two or three weeks.
You have to tell the committee, which is usually a group of three lawyers, why you are appealing the decision.
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