Any person wishing to apply for legal aid must contact the legal aid office closest to their place of residence and schedule an appointment.
An application for legal aid will be completed and your financial eligibility will be assessed by one of our permanent attorneys. The attorney will also determine whether the legal services you are requesting assistance fall under the scope of an Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services and its associated regulations.
Please be advised that eligibility assessments are not billed to applicants and cannot be completed over the phone or by email.
Eligibility is determined by assessing your financial situation and evaluating service coverage.
If you are eligible, you may fall under one of two categories: free eligibility, or eligibility with contribution (between $100 and $800).
If you receive welfare or social solidarity benefits, you are automatically eligible for legal aid, provided the legal services you are requesting assistance for fall under the scope of an Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services and its associated regulations.
Since December 29, 2022, new amendments to a Regulation respecting legal aid have come into force.
As a result of these amendments, legal aid applicants are no longer required to systematically provide documentation showing their sources of income and the value of their assets and liquidities.
Further documentation establishing your financial situation will only have to be provided upon request of the legal aid office handling your application.
Please be aware that Community Legal Centres may also request further documentation in support of an applicant’s financial eligibility insofar as circumstances warrant, more specifically when there are reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is not eligible for legal aid.
Please remember to gather all the necessary information on your financial situation prior to your first appointment. This will allow our legal aid offices to more easily assess your eligibility for legal aid.
Applicants already declared eligible for Legal Aid in the 12 months preceding a new application for Legal Aid are exempt from providing documents in support of their financial eligibility provided their financial situation has not changed since. Such applicants must provide a statement attesting to the veracity of this situation.
The main purpose of your first appointment is to determine whether you are eligible to legal aid. During your first meeting with one of our permanent attorneys or one of our eligibility agents, you will be asked to describe your financial situation (and that of your family, if applicable). More specifically:
All sources of income are considered, such as:
Deductions that may apply to your income:
The value of your house and other buildings (standardized value from an up-to-date tax account), and of your investments (RRSP, etc.).
Deductions that may be applied to the value of your assets:
Also considered are amounts held in your bank accounts or in cash, as well as short-terms assets that can be turned into cash, such as shares and savings bonds.
You will also need to explain your needs so that we can fully understand why your situation requires the intervention of an attorney or notary.
To learn more about eligibility scales, please click on the links below. These PDF files correspond, respectively, to the Free Eligibility Scale, and the Eligibility with Contribution Scale. For more information, you can also visit the Commission des services juridiques website.
As of June 8, 2022, minors are eligible for free Legal Aid.
If the minor’s parents are not themselves eligible for Legal Aid, each parent will have to pay half (50 %) of the invoice. If one or both parents are eligible for Legal Aid, each such parent will be required to pay a sum not exceeding the amount of their contribution, if any.
When the service required by the minor falls within the scope of the Youth Protection Act or the Youth Criminal Justice Act, or when a lawsuit is filed by the minor (for example, an application seeking the minor’s emancipation), the cost of services rendered shall not be paid by the minor’s parents.
However, when an attorney has been appointed to represent a minor by a Superior Court justice, section 39 of our Regulation provides that the cost of services rendered by the minor’s Court-appointed attorney shall be paid by the minor’s parents.
Exceptionally, for HAS and SARPA, applicants who were deemed financially inadmissible to receive legal aid may still benefit from these services by paying the following:
You may contest or request the review of a decision rendered by our Community Legal Centre by appealing to the Commission des services juridiques’ Review Committee. For more information, please consult the Review Committee’s web page.
An interested party in a dispute may contest the financial eligibility or a Legal Aid beneficiary by submitting a request to the Corporate Secretary of the South Shore Community Legal Centre.
The Corporate Secretary’s decision to maintain Legal Aid’s benefit following a contestation may be reviewed by the Commission des services juridiques’ Review Committee.