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848 How to apply for Legal Aid To apply for Legal Aid, visit a Legal Aid office. It is a good idea to call the office first to find out when the best time to visit is. A list of Legal Aid offices can be found on the Legal Line Guide or Website, or you can check the Legal Aid Ontario website at www.legalaid.on.ca.
- What you should bringWhen you go to the Legal Aid office, you should take as much information with you as possible. For example, you should bring:
- Some form of identification, such as a social insurance card, driver's license, health card, or landed immigrant papers;
- Any documents relating to your case, such as court orders, separation agreements, a copy of the Crown Screening for Criminal charges, a copy of any police summons, indictments or charge or any documents related to your case;
- Proof of your current income if you have any, such as recent pay stubs, welfare cheque stubs, Employment Insurance statements or T4 slips;
- An up-to-date bank book or bank statements;
- Proof of monthly expenses and bills, including rent receipts or mortgage payments, hydro and gas bills, car payment receipts, credit card statements and car insurance bills;
- If you own your home, the deed to your home; and
- Proof of any unusual expenses such as medical costs.
When you are at the Legal Aid office, you will be required to fill out a Legal Aid application. The staff at the office will help you with this and may be able to tell you right away whether you are eligible for Legal Aid. It is important that you inform the staff if your situation is an emergency so that you will be given help immediately.
If your application is accepted, you will receive a Legal Aid certificate in about two weeks. You can take the certificate to any lawyer who accepts Legal Aid and who agrees to represent you. If your application is refused, you can make an appeal to the local Area Legal Aid Committee.
If you are leaving a violent family situation and you qualify under the financial criteria, you will get one free appointment with a lawyer. You will receive up to two hours of free legal advice about your rights and options. To apply for this type of Legal Aid you will need to get a special application form from a Legal Aid office or from a women's shelter.
- What Lawyer can I use?If you qualify for Legal Aid, you will be allowed to use the services of a lawyer of your choice. You must make sure that the lawyer you choose accepts Legal Aid cases. You may want to speak with more than one lawyer in order to find someone that you feel comfortable with. Once you have chosen a lawyer it is unlikely that you will be allowed to change lawyers.
The Legal Aid office will have a list of lawyers who can work on your case. You can also look on the Legal Line Guide or website or call the Law Society's Lawyer Referral Service to find a lawyer.
For more information about Legal Aid, refer to other sections of Legal Line , or contact the nearest Legal Aid office or Community Legal Clinic.