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FAQ

Is Legal Aid Alberta free?

The majority of Legal Aid Alberta’s services are not free. For most issues, Legal Aid Alberta lawyers charge a reduced hourly rate of $100.00 plus miscellaneous fees. The fees a lawyer can charge are outlined in our Legal Aid Tariff. A copy of the Tariff is available on our website, LAA Tariff.

Legal Aid pays your lawyer during your case and we work with you to set up a re-payment plan. All clients are expected to re-pay Legal Aid Alberta for their lawyer’s services. There is no interest on a bill with Legal Aid Alberta, and you are not responsible for paying GST.

What services are provided for free?

We provide several free essential services to support and protect the rights of all Albertans and prevent unnecessary and costly court delays. Without these frontline services, the justice system itself would struggle to keep up with caseloads.

Duty counsel advice
Duty counsel lawyers are available by phone and in courtrooms to provide brief legal advice to Albertans regardless of income. Duty counsel lawyers are your voice in a system that can seem complex, adversarial and overwhelming. Early Assistance Appearance service lets you speak with duty counsel up to 14 days before your first court appearance. Duty counsel service is free to all Albertans.

Mental health review hearings
In most cases legal representation in mental health cases is free. We may be able to help you if you have a hearing coming up before the Alberta Review Board or if you want a mental health review panel to: release you from a hospital where you’re being held under the Mental Health Act; prevent a doctor from declaring you incompetent to make treatment decisions; stop a doctor from treating you against your will; cancel or change your Community Treatment Order.

Bail hearings
All Albertans qualify to have a legal aid lawyer speak for them at a bail hearing at no cost. During the last year, LAA lawyers conducted more than 28,000 bail hearings. The free service operates 16 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

24/7 hotline from jail
Last year, Albertans being held in police custody placed more than 16,000 calls for help to LAA lawyers. These phone calls are free, giving Albertans an opportunity to get critical advice and to know their rights so they can make informed decisions.

Emergency protection orders
Any Albertan facing imminent domestic danger can come to us to apply for an emergency protection order. Last year we facilitated more than 2,000 applications at no cost to the victim.

How can I pay my bill?

Legal Aid Alberta accepts payments in a variety of different ways:

For more info on payments please see our payments page Payments – Legal Aid Alberta or  contact our payments team at 1-866-845-3425 and choose option 4 at the menu.

 

Do I have to pay a down payment or retainer?

No, there is no requirement for a down payment or retainer to be paid before a lawyer can start helping you.

Does Legal Aid charge interest?

No, there is no interest on the amount owing to Legal Aid Alberta.

Do I have to pay GST?

No, you  are not responsible for paying the GST on your lawyer’s bill.

I have an outstanding bill with Legal Aid Alberta, can I still get assistance on a new issue?

Yes. You can apply for coverage on a new legal issue even if you have an outstanding bill with us for a previous matter. We will discuss your payment arrangements each time you apply.

How does a lawyer decide how much to bill?

The fees a lawyer can charge are outlined in our Legal Aid Tariff. A copy of the Tariff is available on our website, LAA Tariff. As per our Governance Agreement, the Tariff is reviewed by the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General for the Province of Alberta.

How can I get a detailed bill?

You can contact our client payments team at 1-866-845-3425 or email us and ask for a copy of the bill(s) submitted by your lawyer.

What if I do not understand my bill?

You can visit our Payments page to see an example of a statement with descriptions.  If you need assistance you  can contact our client payments team at 1-866-845-3425 or email us

My case finished months ago, why am I just getting a statement now?

It can take time for your lawyer to finalize everything on their end and submit the final invoice to Legal Aid Alberta. A lawyer typically has six months from the conclusion of the case to submit the invoice to Legal Aid Alberta.

How do I dispute my bill?

If you have received an account statement and want more specific information about your bill please contact us at [email protected] or contact us at 1-866-845-3425 to request a copy of the lawyer’s invoice. The invoice will provide more detailed information.

If you believe that your lawyer did not bill correctly according to the Legal Aid Alberta Tariff, you can send an email to [email protected]

The Tariff is very specific in laying out what services a lawyer is able to charge for and what the charge for that service is. Legal Aid Alberta is only able reduce the amount of the bill if the lawyer did not bill correctly according to our Tariff.

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