What to do when you can’t afford a lawyer
Visit the website to see if your income level will allow you to qualify for Legal Aid. You have to be considered low-income, and your legal problem has to fall within certain set categories, in order to qualify. In addition to legal representation in court, Legal Aid provides help over the phone and also gives referrals to other agencies that can help.
Clinics exist across the province to give low-income residents free legal advice on such issues as EI appeals, wills and estates, and representation. Typically a location will serve those living in the neighbourhood (much like a local job assistance program). You can enter your postal code on the Legal Aid website to find a clinic near you.
At court, showing up without a lawyer can leave you feeling incredibly vulnerable – what do you need to do, who do you talk to, and are you even in the right place? Fortunately, you can look out for the duty counsel. If they are not busy, they will be able to review your case and give you immediate assistance in navigating court procedures and tribunals.
Many people need help with civil problems as well as criminal ones. Pro Bono Ontario helps Ontarians who can’t afford a lawyer deal with everyday legal problems at home and at work, including legal issues that arise out of running a small business. The service basically connects volunteer lawyers from various firms with the people in need and also dispatches volunteer lawyers to courthouses, schools and hospitals.
If your legal issue has to do with divorce or child custody, you might want to visit a Family Law Information Centre – there’s one at every courthouse. These resource centres offer free information about the steps involved in separation and divorce and advice on how and where to find mediation and counselling services. These fully staffed centres can also make referrals to other agencies.
The society offers free, half hour consultations with a participating lawyer or paralegal who can help with your issue. The consultation is meant to help you determine your rights and options only, but you may end up retaining the legal services of the person you speak with, if you wish.
This is the one service that bridges the gap between Legal-Aid type assistance, which is free only for very low-income citizens, and full-fee legal services. JusticeNet has brochures in a wide variety of languages and can help anyone in Ontario who qualifies.
Without adequate legal representation, you could wind up with a criminal record. If that has already happened, it’s very unfortunate, but something can be done: a record suspension can clear your name so you can get on with your life. Call us today for a free consultation.
Call TOLL FREE 1-888-890-1321
or fill out the online inquiry below and have a qualified agent help you see if you are eligible to clear your criminal record with a Pardon, or gain access to the United States with an Entry Waiver.