Is legal assistance with Legal Aid Alberta free?

Many of Legal Aid Alberta's services are free; however, when a lawyer is provided to represent you there is a responsibility to reimburse Legal Aid Alberta for some of the fees billed to us by your lawyer. The rates for these services are significantly less than if you were to hire a lawyer on your own. Interest and GST are not charged on accounts.


Do I need to bring anything with me when I apply?

Please bring the following information to the interview:

  • personal identification (Example: drivers license);
  • motor vehicle registration(s) for any vehicles that you own;
  • any documentation that verifies your financial situation, as well as those of your spouse/partner, such as your most recent tax return, last/most recent pay stub and/or bank statements; and 
  • any court papers that relate to your case.

What will they ask me about when I apply?

In order to complete an assessment to determine the best service option, you will be asked about:

  • Your legal issue
  • Your financial situation
  • Property you own (assets)
  • Employment
  • Marital status
  • Family size
  • Living arrangements

Can I choose my lawyer?

When applying for coverage through Legal Aid Alberta, you cannot choose your lawyer.  You can tell us who you would like as your lawyer at the time of your assessment and your request will be considered. However, please understand that Legal Aid Alberta reserves the right to appoint a lawyer to you from an existing list of lawyers who take legal aid cases.  

If you have a lawyer you would like to use, you need to first ask the lawyer:

  • Do you accept legal aid cases?
  • Do you handle the type of case that I need help with? (Example: family, criminal, immigration, civil)

I am a youth. What if I don't have an income?  

All youth (12 to 18 years) are eligible to receive representation by a lawyer through Legal Aid Alberta when charged with a criminal offence, as this is mandated under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Contact the Legal Services Centre for assistance.


What if I have a legal issue in Alberta, but I am a resident of another province?

Legal Aid Alberta also provides legal services in relation to a reciprocal agreement with other Canadian legal aid plans. 

If you have a criminal matter that is being heard in Alberta and you reside in another province, you need to contact us for an assessment. If you meet our guidelines for financial and service eligibility you may be provided a lawyer to represent you.

if your issue is not criminal, but you require legal representation in Alberta and you reside in another province you need to contact the legal aid plan in the province where you live.


What can I do if Legal Aid Alberta denies coverage for a lawyer?

You may not qualify to be represented by a lawyer for financial or service eligibility reasons. An initial assessment of your matters and a decision about appointing a lawyer for you will be made through the Legal Services Centre.

In making the decision, the Rules and Policies of Legal Aid Alberta will be followed. No decision will be made until you have provided all necessary information required to make the decision. Once a decision has been made, you will be advised of that decision either in person, verbally or in writing.

If you believe an error was made in refusing to provide you with a lawyer,  you may request the decision be reviewed. A Request for Review form will be provided to you upon request or by accessing Review form - Eligibility Decisions.  You can request assistance in completing the form from Legal Aid Alberta by calling the Legal Services Centre at 1.866.845.3425.

The review is a process conducted by a trained staff member of Legal Aid Alberta. No personal appearance is necessary for the review as it considers only the material you have already provided to Legal Aid Alberta to see if an error has been made in the decision. If an error was made in the initial decision, it will be corrected. This may or may not result in a different decision regarding your file. You will be advised of the reviewer’s decision in writing. You will also be advised about what you may be able to do if you disagree with the reviewer’s decision.

If you believe that the reviewer has made an error in further denying a lawyer to represent you, you may request that the reviewer’s decision be appealed to the Appeals Committee. A Request to Appeal form will be provided to you upon request or by accessing Request to Appeal Form.  You can request assistance in completing the form from Legal Aid Alberta by calling the Legal Services Centre at 1.866.845.3425.

The Appeals Committee is made up of Legal Aid Alberta board members, independent lawyers and community members who are not employees of Legal Aid Alberta. These individuals volunteer their services to Legal Aid Alberta for this purpose. Teams or panels of members will meet when necessary to consider appeal requests. You may appear personally for an appeal, but only if you ask to do so.

All decisions made by the Appeals Committee are final decisions and cannot be appealed further.


Can I apply for legal assistance if I still have an outstanding balance with Legal Aid Alberta from a previous legal issue?

You may apply for coverage on a new legal issue even if you have an outstanding Legal Aid Alberta bill from a previous issue.