First preference for complainant-counsel certificates
LAA offers free legal advice to complainants or witnesses in the following circumstances:
- Complainants responding to section 276 applications (to introduce evidence of other sexual activity);
- Complainants responding to O’Connor applications (to order production of third‐party records);
- Complainants and other witnesses with a privacy interest in records (e.g. a complainant’s parent or guardian) responding to section 278.2/278.3 (Mills) applications (to order production of third-party records), and,
- Complainants responding to section 278.92/278.93 applications (to introduce certain records that relate to the complainant).
This is a duty counsel service, which means it is offered to anyone in Alberta regardless of their financial means and without any need to repay LAA for the legal services. It also means LAA places limits on how much time a lawyer can spend assisting the client.
If LAA decides to issue a complainant certificate to a lawyer on the roster, we will try to connect the client with a lawyer who belongs to the panel. We will only offer the certificate to a lawyer who does not belong to the panel if we cannot find a panel lawyer willing to take the certificate in that geographic service area. Panel members will remain free to decline certificate offers.
Two-to-three-year panel membership
If you are selected, you will remain a member of the panel for about two-to-three years. You are eligible to re-apply, and there is no limit on how long someone can remain on the panel. If you are not selected for the panel, you can apply again in a few years.
Training and education
If you are selected for the panel, LAA may ask you to complete a mandatory one-day training session.