What can a legal aid office do for you?

Legal aid offices provide information and help for people on low incomes. Basically, if you could not reasonably be expected to afford a lawyer after paying your essential bills, then you could potentially qualify for legal aid. You do not have to be on social assistance to qualify for legal aid, in fact, you could even own your own home. The important point is that you have a low disposable income.

Due to the restrictions on legal aid funding, it is generally only made available in the most serious of cases. These would typically include:

  • Criminal cases, especially ones which could lead to a custodial sentence
  • People needing help to escape serious issues such as domestic violence
  • Issues relating to the welfare of minor children (e.g. pursuing child support)
  • People with mental health and/or addiction issues.
  • People with immigration issues (e.g. refugees and/or people facing deportation).

In some cases, legal aid may be made available outside of these situations to people who identify as First Nation, Métis or Inuit.

Legal aid offices may also be able to offer some assistance to people with a higher level of income, in certain circumstances. This would usually be done by providing services on the understanding that the individual pays back some or all of the money through contributions they can afford.

Some legal aid offices can provide a certain level of information and support online or by telephone. In many cases however you will need to visit a legal aid office.

There are legal aid offices throughout all states so it’s usually easy to find one if you just look online. Be aware that legal aid offices assign lawyers to cases as they are available. If you would prefer to choose your own lawyer, then check out Lawyer match. Lawyer match has a curated list of lawyers in the Toronto, VA area covering all the different branches of the law.