Referrals - Legal Aid - Community Advocacy & Legal Centre

Referrals - Legal Aid

This page deals with help you can receive from Legal Aid.  Legal aid primarily deals with criminal, family and immigration law. 

Legal Aid


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Legal Aid Ontario


Services provided by Legal Aid Ontario include:

  • Advice lawyers - lawyers can give advice on family or criminal law on the phone (20 minutes of free legal advice) or you can get family law advice in person at local Family Law Information Centres.  Also, in Belleville, Legal Aid is holding a Criminal Law Information Centre at the Quinte Courthouse (main floor, room 1306) every Wednesday from 1-4 pm. 

  • website - a legal information resource from Legal Aid Ontario.  Written by Legal Aid lawyers from across Ontario, LawFacts provides legal information about criminal, family and refugee law, as well as court-related mental health issues.

  • Certificates - given, if you qualify, for representation on family, criminal or immigration law matters

  • Family mediation and independent legal advice service - Legal Aid covers up to 6 hours of legal advice from a lawyer to support clients who are undergoing mediation and wish to transform mediated agreements into legally-finding documents

  • Separation Agreement Certificates - Legal Aid provides up to 10 hours of legal advice from a lawyer to negotiate and draw up a legally-binding separation agreement to settle child custody, child access, support and property issues

  • Children's Aid help - If you have been contacted by Children's Aid, contact Legal Aid to see if they can help you.  See their fact sheet, "Has Children's Aid Contacted You?"

  • Duty Counsel - services are offered in most courts

  • Refugee Law Office - provides legal assistance to refugee claimants and immigrants who are eligible for Legal Aid

  • Telephone applications for certificates

To find out more about Legal Aid services please call Legal Aid's Client Service Center at 1-800-668-8258. (TTY users (telephone device for the Deaf), call 1-866-641-8867.  See also: Legal Aid services for People who are Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing.)  Press "0" and ask to speak to a Client Service Representative.


View Legal Aid's eligibility requirements:


Effective June 8, 2015, Legal Aid will make certificates available to financially eligible people for the following legal matters:  Criminal Law, Family Law, Mental Health, Refugee Law, Test Cases and Court Challenges, Domestic Violence, First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Visit Legal Aid's website for more information.


Legal Aid also has a smartphone app that you can use to check your eligibility and call centre wait times (only the wait time display will require an internet connection).


View our Legal Aid Information Sheet which summarizes how to apply for a certificate, how to appeal or complain about services.


If you are refused Legal Aid:


First, visit the Legal Aid website to find out the types of cases that are covered.  They provide criminal law, family law and immigration and refugee law services.  There is no point in appealing a denial if it is an area not covered by Legal Aid.  To see if you qualify for services from Legal Aid, view their pages on financial eligibility to receive duty counsel or summary advice and financial eligibility for a Legal Aid certificate (to retain a lawyer for full representation).  Depending on your income, and whether you own property, you may be required to sign a contribution agreement, meaning you will have to repay Legal Aid for some or all of your legal fees.


If you are denied a Legal Aid Certificate, you have the right to appeal.  Information about appealing a Legal Aid decision is found on the Legal Aid website, under "Making an Appeal," or call their Client Service Centre for more information.


If you are unhappy with the service provided by Legal Aid, visit their Making a Complaint page.  In Hastings, Prince Edward and Lennox & Addington counties you can submit your complaint to the Durham-Frontenac District office at 384 Water Street, Peterborough, or call 1-888-828-3827. 


Legal Aid Ontario's "call back" feature now fully operational

Legal Aid Ontario reports that wait times will continue to drop dramatically now that the newest feature on their toll-free telephone service (1-800-668-8258)* allows clients to enter their phone number and have a staff member return their call. Clients requiring the assistance of a toll-free client service specialist will hear an interactive voice recording that notifies them of this “call-back” option.


Clients who don’t want to wait on the phone to speak to a specialist can enter their telephone number when prompted, resulting in an automated call back when the next specialist becomes available. Clients do not lose their place in line.


Callers to the toll-free service first speak with representatives who can provide general information and referrals to duty counsel, community legal clinics or other agencies as needed. During the week of November 8, the average wait time for this level of service was two minutes and 51 seconds, with a low of 78 seconds recorded for November 12. Staff at LAO’s toll-free service centre answered more than 5,300 calls that week.


Some callers are connected with a second level of specialists who can take legal aid applications and arrange for the caller to receive summary legal advice from LAO staff. Given the more involved nature of this second level of service, wait times are generally longer than for the first level. In November, wait times for the second level of service averaged around 10 minutes, making the call-back feature a significant enhancement for clients needing these services.


*Please note that this telephone line is for legal aid certificates in family and criminal law issues only, not for the types of services that our clinic provides.  See the Our Services page for more details of what we do here at the clinic.



Legal Aid Funded Services in Lennox & Addington County 

Other Sources of Legal Help for Issues not covered by the Clinic or Legal Aid