Legal Aid: Free or Not?

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If you qualify for legal aid, you can receive the services of a lawyer for free or by paying a fixed contribution. Whether it is free or not depends mainly on your income and your family situation.

Are the services free, or is there a charge? 

Your financial and family situations are taken into account to determine whether you qualify for legal aid. Depending on your circumstances, you could receive legal services free of charge or have to pay a fixed amount to receive them Here are two examples:

Case 1: If you’re single

If your annual income is $23,842 or less, you are eligible for free legal.

If your annual income is above this amount, you can still receive legal aid by paying part of the costs. For example, if your annual income is between $29,756 and $30,938, you can obtain the services of a lawyer for a fixed amount of $600.

Case 2: If you have two dependent children but no spouse

If you have two dependent children but no spouse, you can qualify for free legal aid if your annual income is $31,141 or less.

If your annual income is above this amount, you can still qualify for legal aid by paying part of the costs. For example, if your annual income is between $38,860 and $40,402, you can obtain the services of a lawyer for a fixed amount of $600.

Other situations

Legal aid provides eligibility scales for different family situations. To learn more, visit the website of the Commission des services juridiques (legal aid).

Important! The amount of income used to determine whether a person qualifies for legal aid is slightly higher in certain remote regions, such as the Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

Evaluation of your financial situation

Your financial situation is analyzed based on these criteria:

  • your annual income
  • your property and your debts
  • your assets (such as savings)

Lump-sum amount to pay

If you qualify for legal aid but have to pay a fixed amount, your contribution will be between $100 and $800. This amount is determined as soon as you qualify. It covers your case from beginning to end and includes all costs.

Possibility of a payment arrangement

You must pay the contribution as instructed by the legal aid office. It’s also possible to arrange to pay in several installments. You must discuss this option with staff at the legal aid office. You may have to show you that you can’t pay the entire amount at once.