Help Centre – Qualifying

Find out if you are eligible.

Qualifying

How can I apply for Legal Aid Alberta?

You can apply by phone at 1-866-845-3425. We are open Monday to Friday from 8:15 am to 4:15 pm (excluding holidays). Our wait times fluctuate throughout the day depending on the volume of callers. Youths, callers currently being held in custody, callers with criminal court within 2 weeks, and callers needing to start a new application are provided priority phone access.

For information on our eligibility criteria please visit  Eligibility – Legal Aid Alberta

When can I apply with Legal Aid Alberta for a lawyer to represent me?

Unless your issue falls under the two categories below you are able to apply at any time.

Criminal law issue

You can apply after you have been charged with a criminal offence. We are not able to assign a lawyer if you haven’t yet been formally charged by the police.

Children’s Services issue

You can apply after Children’s Services has filed a court application or there is an ongoing court case with Children’s Services. We are not able to assign a lawyer if Children’s Services is wanting to speak with you about an issue, only once they have made a court application.

What are the financial eligibility requirements?

Legal Aid Alberta considers income in the past 30 days and the past 12 months. To meet the financial eligibility guidelines your income has to meet both criteria.

For details on the financial guidelines please visit Resources – Legal Aid Alberta

Regardless of financial eligibility, all Albertans facing criminal charges are able to request brief legal advice and support in advance from duty counsel within 14 days  of their court date. For more information see Early Appearance Assistance.

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 typically found at the courthouse and most often speak to clients before their court appearance. They do not become involved in trials.

For more information on Duty Counsel see Duty Counsel – Legal Aid Alberta

Do the financial guidelines apply to youths who are charged with a criminal offence?

No, the financial guidelines do not apply for a youth dealing with a criminal offence(s).

Are there any other eligibility requirements?

In addition to financial eligibility, Legal Aid will also consider the circumstances of the issue you are dealing with to determine if we can assign a lawyer.

What circumstances are considered?

  • The seriousness of a criminal charge
  • Whether a Legal Aid duty counsel lawyer can help you resolve the issue
  • Whether this something that can be addressed through the court’s internal programs
  • Whether the court application is likely to result in the desired outcome
What will you ask me about when I apply?

In order to determine if we are able to provide assistance, we will ask you about:

  • your contact information
  • your financial situation
    • employment status
    • employer
    • income
    • expenses
    • assets
  • your family size (number of people in your household)
  • your living arrangements
  • your legal issue

 

Are there any residency requirements?

To qualify you must be a resident of Alberta or be a resident of Canada with a court case in Alberta. If your court case is in a different province/territory you need to contact the local legal aid program of that province/territory.

Can I still apply if I have an outstanding balance with Legal Aid Alberta?

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.

Will Legal Aid Alberta require any documents for my application?

You may be required to provide a variety of documents that could include:

  • criminal charge documents (promise to appear or undertaking to a peace officer)
  • court applications and any documents you have been served
  • financial documents that support your income information
    • Pay Stubs
    • Bank statements
    • Record of employment
    • Tax documents: T4 or Notice of Assessment
    • Letter from employer

 

What can I do if Legal Aid Alberta needs a document from me, and I don't have a scanner?

For the majority of documents you are able to take a picture using a smartphone/camera and submit it via email. Please make sure that the picture is readable and the entire contents of the relevant page is captured.  You will be notified in advance if any documents are not able to be photographed and submitted.

What can I do if I think Legal Aid Alberta made an error on my file?

If you believe an error was made on your assessment you can submit a Request to Review form to have the file reviewed.

Forms – Legal Aid Alberta

If it is an error on your financial assessment you are asked asked to provide documents proving the accurate income information prior to submitting a Request to Review form.

What if I don't qualify?

All Albertans facing criminal charges are still able to receive brief legal advice and support from duty counsel  in advance within 14 days your court date regardless of their financial eligibility.  For more information see Early Appearance Assistance and Duty Counsel – Legal Aid Alberta

If you are dealing with a criminal matter or a court case involving Child and Family Services, you may be able to submit a Rowbotham Application to the courts. Through this application, you may still be able to receive a lawyer from Legal Aid Alberta even if you do not meet the eligibility criteria. Please see Forms – Legal Aid Alberta for a document with information on this type of application.

You can access our Support Services resource page to find other services and agencies that may be able to assist you. Support Services – Legal Aid Alberta

What can I do if I think someone has qualified when I don't think they should have?

You can submit an email to clientconcerns@legalaid.ab.ca. Please include the name, date of birth, and any relevant information on why that individual should not qualify for assistance. Documents supporting your information are not required but can be beneficial. Due to privacy laws, Legal Aid Alberta is not able to report to you the outcome of your complaint. All complaints are anonymous.

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