Duty counsel are lawyers who provide free, on-the-spot legal advice to anyone making their first appearance in court. But what if a person is facing a possible prison sentence and needs more than one-time legal advice?
Legal Aid Alberta has implemented a triage system to help assess the seriousness of a case and the resources it may require.
The Duty Counsel Triage Program allows individuals who are charged with a crime, but not held in custody, to speak with duty counsel before their court date and discuss options. At that time, duty counsel can “triage” the case and determine if the person is at risk of a jail term, which may result in an LAA lawyer being appointed to the case.
Duty Counsel Triage helps match clients with the LAA service that best fits their circumstances.