Duty Counsel Day Learning Materials for Alberta Teachers

October 27 is Duty Counsel Day across Canada.

Duty counsel are legal aid lawyers who give free advice in criminal, family and immigration cases in Canada. Duty counsel help Canadians more than 1.2 million* times each year.

In Alberta, duty counsel lawyers are currently assisting people in 75 communities.

The majority of people who appear in courts are self-represented and don’t have a lawyer. They are at risk of some very serious outcomes if they don’t understand what is happening or what is legally required of them at any given hearing – it could mean losing custody of their children, or being held in prison.

Duty counsel help people make informed decisions about how to best move forward.

Duty Counsel Day promotional graphic: If you like justice, we have a day for you.

Legal Aid Alberta, in partnership with Canada’s 12 other legal aid associations, are teaming up with schools across the country to educate the next generation of citizens about the importance of duty counsel to the justice system. Learning materials in English and French are available to teachers from coast to coast to coast.

Tips for talking about Duty Counsel Day with your students

1. Play informative videos then discuss what was learned.

Duty Counsel Lawyers: The unsung superheroes of the Canadian justice system

Watch the French version. 

A message from the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of Canada 

Remarks from Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Canada’s 26th Governor General

Remarks from Honourable Patti LaBoucane-Benson, Senator, Alberta

Duty Counsel Day message from TV lawyer Nicole Muñoz of CBC Diggstown

2. Do a word search together.

3. Talk about careers in the law.

student raising hand in class

Ask students to read a few short stories about duty counsel lawyers in Canada. Then discuss:

  • What do lawyers do every day?
  • Why is the job important?
  • How do I become a lawyer?

*Annual stats may vary

Get in touch
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For nearly 50 years, Legal Aid Alberta has supported Albertans during perhaps the most challenging days of their lives. We protect people’s rights, represent the best interests of children and youth, and defend clients at trial. We help families in crisis and disadvantaged citizens of all ages across the province, including rural areas, who have come into conflict with the law, including refugees and people who suffer mental illness or addiction. We are lawyers, call centre staff and administrative professionals working together to provide an essential service to Albertans. 


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