Legal Aid Alberta Dictionary


Admissibility Hearing: A hearing held by the Immigration Division of the Canadian government when a person is believed to be inadmissible to Canada. Grounds for inadmissibility are security, violation of human rights, criminality, organized criminality, misrepresentation and failure to comply with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (such as working illegally).

Appeal: Procedure by which a case is brought from a lower to higher court (or committee) for revised ruling or rehearing.

Appeal (Legal Aid Alberta): The process of appealing the decision of an administrative review of service decision.

Appeals Committees: 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. This committee is the final level of appeal for refusals/terminations of legal aid coverage.

Application (Legal Aid Alberta): It is the process that you go through with a Legal Aid Officer to get service for your issue.

Assets: The property that you own (example: house, vehicle), how much money you have in the bank, etc. Legal Aid Alberta will ask you about your assets to help us determine your financial eligibility. If you have assets that can easily be sold that you could use to hire a lawyer on your own, representation may be refused.


Bail Assignment: Is a document that LAA will ask you to sign if you have been released on bail. Legal Aid Alberta sends a copy of this document to the court to let them know that the money you pay to get out of jail (bail) will be sent to Legal Aid Alberta to put towards your legal aid bill.

Bar: Entire body of lawyers and counselors-at-law.

Board: The use of the word “Board” refers to the Board of Directors of Legal Aid Alberta.

Brydges Service: The provision of legal advice by telephone to persons who have been detained by police. Legal Aid Alberta operates a 24-hour, 7 days a week toll-free line for access to immediate legal advice for all detained persons in Alberta, regardless of their financial standing. The number for the toll-free Brydges line is posted in prisoner telephone rooms across the province. (LAA administers the Brydges service on behalf of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, pursuant to R. v. Brydges).


Certificate: A certificate is a document that is issued by Legal Aid Alberta to a lawyer, authorizing him/her to act on the behalf of a client.

Civil Action: Lawsuit between private parties, usually to recover money, property, or remedies, or to enforce rights.

Client Payments: The department at Legal Aid Alberta which is responsible for working with you to arrange payment of your legal aid bill.

Contact Centre Intake Officer (CCIO): Front line worker for Legal Aid Alberta. CCIOs are responsible for determining eligibility for legal aid and providing a service plan that meets client needs. CCIOs are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice.

Counsel: Counsel is another term used for a lawyer or a group of lawyers who conduct cases in court or give legal advice.

Criminal Law: The statutes and common law of crimes and their punishment.


Dependant: The spouse of an applicant, and/or a child of the applicant who is under the age of 18 at the time of the application, and/or a child of the applicant who is over the age of 18 at the time of the application and is unable, by reason of mental or physical disability, to earn a livelihood, and/or any other child who, in the opinion of an office or designate, is financially dependent upon the applicant.

Detention Review: When a person is detained, a detention review is held to determine whether there are sufficient reasons to continue the detention of the person under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Duty Counsel: Duty counsel are lawyers that are employed by Legal Aid Alberta 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.


Family: The applicant and his/her dependants (or in the case of youths, his/her parents or guardians). Dependants may include an applicant’s spouse, common law spouse, a child of the applicant if the child is under 18, any other child who is financially dependent on the applicant.

Fee: Lawyer’s charge for his/her service.

Financial Eligibility Guidelines: The set of rules that are used to compare your (net) income after deductions (by subtracting things like income taxes, child care expenses, etc.) to family size. If your net income compared to your family size is too high, legal aid coverage may be refused. The Financial Eligibility Guidelines also contain rules about assets.


Guardian: One legally empowered to manage the affairs of a minor or incompetent person.


Lawyer: (also called "counsel", "barrister", or "solicitor") A professional who has the knowledge, training, qualifications, and the license to represent clients in court.

Legal Aid Alberta Tariff: A document that describes the fees, rates, and guidelines a lawyer must follow when billing for legal aid work.

Legal Aid Client: A Legal aid client is a person who has contacted Legal Aid Alberta for services.


Provincial Office: The Provincial Office is the corporate office for Legal Aid Alberta. It is located in Edmonton.


Refugee Claim: A refugee claim is the process a person(s) undergoes to receive either Convention Refugee status (as defined under the UN Convention on Refugees and s.96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act), or be deemed a person in need of protection (as defined under s.97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act).

Resident Albertan: An individual who makes his/her home and is ordinarily present in Alberta.

Roster Lawyers: Roster lawyers are lawyers who take on legal aid cases. Roster lawyers come from the private bar, which means they have their own practice and/or work for a private law firm. The majority of legal aid cases in Alberta are handled by roster lawyers. Currently, there are approximately 1,200 lawyers on Legal Aid Alberta’s roster.


Security Agreement: A document that Legal Aid Alberta may ask you to sign if you own valuable property such as a vehicle. Legal Aid Alberta will register this document and if at some time the property is sold, a portion of the money from the sale of the property will come to Legal Aid Alberta to be put towards your legal aid bill. Legal Aid Alberta will never force you to sell the property to pay your legal bill.

Service Eligibility: This is eligibility criteria that does not depend on finances, it includes criteria such as the type of legal problem and the merit of the case.


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.

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