How do I apply for legal aid services?

To apply for a legal aid services you must first contact Legal Aid Ontario (LAO).

When you call, you should have documents related to your legal situation (for example, court orders, separation agreements, or a copy of the crown screening form for criminal charges) close by; in case you need to refer to them.

If you need help in a language other than English, LAO's service has a free simultaneous translation system in over 120 languages.

Community agencies can help you find an interpreter and prepare to apply for legal aid. To find help in your area, go to Services Near Me.

How long will it take to get legal aid services?

If you are approved for legal aid, you will get the notification by mail or through your lawyer.

You may be able to get the certificate faster, if your situation is an emergency.

Legal aid certificates are valid for 3 months. Within this time, you must find a lawyer who will take your case.

For more information, read Can I Get a Legal Aid Certificate? [PDF]

If you are refused legal aid, you can appeal this decision for certain reasons.

Call LAO for more information about your situation at 1-800-668-8258 (free anywhere in Ontario) or 416-979-1446 in the GTA. You can get legal aid help in more than 120 languages. You can also access LAO from outside Ontario by making a collect call to 416-979-1446.

For More Information

  • Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) - The LAO website has information about the legal aid program and a list of clinics.
  • Legal Aid Ontario: Types of Help - This page describes Legal Aid Ontario's services, what they cover, who is eligible, and how to apply. From Legal Aid Ontario.
  • Getting Legal Help: A Directory of Community Legal Clinics in Ontario - A clear language listing of Community Legal Clinics (CLCs) across Ontario and their areas of practice. From CLEO - Community Legal Education Ontario.
  • Justice Ontario - This website has information about Ontario's legal system, including family and criminal law, lawsuits, human rights, wills and estates, and tickets and fines. You can get legal information in over 170 languages.
  • Law Society Referral Service (LSRS) - The LSRS is an online service making it possible for residents of Ontario to obtain referrals online, 24 hours a day. The online request, the referral process, and your initial consultation of up to 30 minutes are free.
  • JusticeNet - A not-for-profit service helping people in need of legal expertise, whose income is too high to access legal aid and too low to afford standard legal fees.
Last updated: February 24, 2016 4001396