Duty Counsel Triage Program

Improving access to LAA Duty Counsel Lawyer services

Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) has implemented an triage system designed to better connect Albertans charged with an offense with LAA services, including Duty Counsel services, Duty Counsel are both Staff and Roster Lawyers that help people understand the court process and give free legal advice to people representing themselves at their first court appearance. Duty Counsel lawyers are found at courthouses and often speak to clients before their court appearance. They do not become involved in trials.  

The Duty Counsel Triage Program allows individuals who have been charged with a crime, but not remanded, to speak with the Duty Counsel lawyer prior to their court date and discuss options. At that time, Duty Counsel is able determine if the individual is at risk of a jail term, which may result in a LAA lawyer being appointed. Speaking with a Duty Counsel lawyer allows a client to be matched with the LAA service that best fits their situation. 

LAA Duty Counsel lawyers provide Albertans with valuable assistance before their first court appearance and during their initial appearances. Duty Counsel can assist in clarifying the charges, the circumstances, and the individual’s available options. 

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