Legal aid support will continue to be available in provincial courts.
EDMONTON — Yesterday, members of three criminal defence organizations who do legal aid work voted in favour of withdrawing provincial court duty counsel services for two weeks starting on Monday, August 8.
Roster lawyers who do legal aid are not employees of Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) but are contracted by LAA to provide legal advice and representation services in the areas of criminal and family law. The three criminal defence organizations that voted in favour of withdrawing duty counsel services do not represent all roster lawyers.
We have received a number of questions from clients and the public about how this could affect them. We are committed to taking all reasonable steps to minimize service disruptions and to prioritize those who are in the most disadvantaged situations.
Albertans can continue to access legal aid support in provincial courts, however, they may experience some delays in service. We’re making efforts to ensure a duty counsel lawyer will be available either in person or virtually at all courthouses. Albertans are required to attend court as scheduled and we’re asking for their patience.
Roster lawyers are integral to Legal Aid Alberta. While LAA is unable to change the rate of pay for roster lawyers, we are included in the discussions with them. We are hopeful a solution can be reached soon. We will continue to press forward with modernizing the tariff structure and remain committed to delivering a proposal to the Ministry by budget time in October.
We’re extremely grateful to LAA employees for stepping up in these extraordinary circumstances to support Albertans.
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Roster lawyers who do legal aid are not employees of LAA but are contracted by LAA to provide legal advice and representation services. Roster lawyers come from the private bar, which means they have their own practice and/or work for a private law firm. Learn more
Staff lawyers work as employees at Legal Aid Alberta. They bring special knowledge and skills to serve people facing significant legal and life challenges. Staff lawyers practice criminal, family and immigration law and provide duty counsel services in docket and therapeutic courts across the province.
Duty counsel are staff and roster lawyers who help people understand the court process and who give free legal advice to people representing themselves at their first court appearance. Duty counsel is found at the courthouse and most often speak to clients before their court appearance. They do not become involved in trials. Learn more
Tariff of fees (tariff): The Legal Aid Alberta Tariff of Fees dictates how lawyers accounts should be paid/how much they may bill their clients. Learn more