Hiring a lawyer can sometimes be hard on the wallet! Before heading to court, there are alternatives you can explore to settle a dispute, and free and low-cost legal resources available to assist you.
You can’t agree with your neighbour on the materials to use for a common fence? You have a dispute with your ex on the choice of a summer camp for your child? You believe there are defects in the used car you just bought? In these and other disputes, it may be possible to find a solution through negotiation.
Negotiation is a way to look for a result that will leave everyone satisfied and which may not have been possible if you went to court. But it also requires an open mind, an ability to listen, and some preparation. With this in mind, here are several resources that may be of assistance to you.
What it has to offer
Our website provides a wealth of legal information in easy-to-understand language. We cover many areas of everyday interest, such as family law, housing, consumer law and workplace rights — all with the aim of informing you of your rights and responsibilities.
Community Justice Centres offer free consultations with legal professionals. They also hold information sessions on a wide variety of legal topics.
JuridiQC is an online service offering legal information that complements what you’ll find on the Éducaloi website, particularly in the area of separation and divorce.
If negotiation has stalled, mediation may help break the deadlock. The mediation process is similar to negotiation, but the mediator will guide you. The mediator can’t take sides or decide who’s right or wrong.
Mediation generally costs less than going to court. During a separation, a couple can benefit from several hours of free mediation. You have the right to five free hours if you and your ex have children and three free hours if you don’t.
Another option is citizen mediation, offered in many regions of Quebec. It’s aimed at people who have a dispute within their community, for example, between neighbours or friends. For more information, visit the websites of Equijustice and the Association des organismes de justice alternative du Québec (Quebec association of alternative justice organizations – in French only).
Free and low-cost legal assistance
If negotiation and mediation have not led to a solution, the following resources can offer assistance.
What it has to offer
Office de la protection du consommateur (consumer protection bureau)
The consumer protection bureau can assist you if you have a dispute with a merchant. It offers an online platform to help solve disputes: Parle Consommation (in French only).
Tribunal administratif du logement (TAL or rental board)
This tribunal deals with rental housing disputes and also has a website with information on the rights of tenants and landlords.
The Lawyer Referral Services of the Barreau du Québec
This service can refer you to lawyers who offer 30 to 60-minute consultations for $60 or less. It will provide references to lawyers in your region.
Legal Aid, if you are eligible
You may be entitled to the services of a lawyer for free or at a low-cost. For more information, see our Legal Aid Web Guide.
Juripop offers free legal services to people who have suffered violence or harassment in the workplace and low-cost legal services in other areas of law for people who slightly exceed the financial cut-offs for Legal Aid.