FINANCIAL RULES

Paying For Legal Aid

Agreement to Pay (ATP) Program

If you have enough money or assets to pay for all of your legal fees at legal aid rates, you may be eligible to receive legal aid through the Agreement to Pay (ATP) program.

Financial Guidelines >

Payments

You will be asked to sign an Agreement to Pay. You will make an initial payment and continue making interest-free, monthly payments until you have paid for the total cost of your case plus the 25% program fee.

In some cases, we may ask you to contribute an additional amount to cover costs such as DNA tests or social worker psychological assessments, before your lawyer can incur the expense.

As long as you continue to make your monthly payments, Legal Aid Manitoba (LAM) will continue to pay your lawyer.

Will the ATP program save me money?

If you qualify for our help, legal aid may be more affordable than hiring a private lawyer:

  • You will only have to make a small down payment at the beginning of your case
  • The hourly rate paid by LAM to your lawyer is usually much less than the rate you would pay that lawyer privately
  • You may not have to pay certain charges such as court filing fees, or you may get them at a reduced rate
  • You get to pay for your legal help by making interest-free, monthly payments at LAM

Assets

LAM will review your assets and expenses when you apply for legal aid. Assets are material possessions such as:

  • Home
  • Real estate
  • Vehicle
  • Cash
  • Savings account
  • RRSPs

If you have assets that are enough to pay for a lawyer, you may be refused legal aid.

If your assets are locked in and you are not able to use them, or if using them would cause you a great deal of hardship, LAM may be able to offer help. For example, you may still qualify financially for legal aid even if you own your home or a vehicle, depending on the value.

Under no circumstances will LAM make you sell or re-mortgage your home to pay for legal aid services.

Charge on Land

If you are a homeowner who is eligible for legal aid, LAM has the right to file a Charge on Land against your property. A Charge on Land is a lien against your property. A lien means that if you sell your home, you will have to repay us from the proceeds of the sale.

If you sell your home, you can pay your bill at any time, in a lump sum or on a monthly basis, without interest. Once your legal bill is paid, we will cancel the lien against your home.

Under no circumstances will LAM make you sell or re-mortgage your home to pay for legal aid services.

Statutory Holdback

Under The Legal Aid Manitoba Act, if you are awarded money in your case, LAM may repay itself for the cost of your legal aid lawyer. For example:

  • The spouse you are divorcing is required to pay you $10,000 for your share of the home you own together
  • LAM paid your lawyer $1,000 to represent you
  • Your lawyer will send $1,000 to pay back LAM and the remaining $9,000 to you

Talk to your lawyer if you have good reason to keep more or all of the money that is awarded to you. You or your lawyer can ask LAM to give up the right to repayment in full or in part.

We will not ask you to repay money if the award is for spousal support or child support that is to be paid on a monthly or periodic basis. However, we may ask you to repay money if the award is for spousal support that is to be paid in a lump sum.