No. A Duty Counsel lawyer cannot represent you at trial. If your case has to go to trial, you must apply for legal aid to obtain full representation services from a lawyer.
Legal Aid Manitoba (LAM) serves Manitobans in over 40 communities surrounding these major cities:
- The Pas
Yes. Staff lawyers at LAM are professional lawyers in good standing with The Law Society of Manitoba. They have the same training and professional qualifications as private bar lawyers.
You must complete your application in person at an Application Centre or other designated location such as a Courthouse. You will meet with an interviewer to review your documents and complete the application form. The process usually takes one hour. There may be a wait as we accept applicants on a first-come, first-served basis.
To save time, you can start the application process by filling in the legal aid application on your computer. You must complete it in person at one of our Application Centres or over the telephone within 30 days.
LAM will send you a notice with its decision in 1-2 weeks after you complete your application for legal aid.
Yes. You may qualify for legal aid even if you have a job. Your financial situation will determine whether or not you receive legal aid for free. You may be required to pay for all of your legal costs at legal aid rates. Either way, legal aid is usually more affordable than hiring a private bar lawyer.
No. Under no circumstances will LAM make you sell or re-mortgage your home to pay a bill for legal services.
Some private bar lawyers accept legal aid clients. If you choose to work with a private bar lawyer, be sure to tell that lawyer at the start that you want to apply for legal aid.
If you do not choose a lawyer, LAM will choose one for you.
If you leave a telephone message for your lawyer, he or she is obliged to return your call within a reasonable amount of time. Call again only if your lawyer has not returned your call within a reasonable amount of time.
Once a lawyer has been appointed to represent you, LAM will consider allowing you to change lawyers only in exceptional circumstances, such as your lawyer is moving away.
No. LAM operates at arms length from government and oversees the delivery of services by the Public Interest Law Centre.
PILC is an independent office of LAM that takes on public interest cases. These are cases that address systemic issues in the law and/or cases that impact specific groups of Manitobans, such as seniors or people with disabilities.
Other independent offices of LAM take on cases that affect individuals. For example, an immigrant who is facing deportation, a parent who is seeking custody of a child or a youth who is charged with a crime.
The Advocacy Unit is attached to the Public Interest Law Centre. It takes on cases that affect individuals facing issues with residential tenancies or government benefits.