Applying for legal aid

Any person wishing to apply for legal aid must get in touch with the legal aid office of their place of residence, and schedule an appointment. Based on the required documentation you provide, an application is filled, and one of our permanent lawyers then reviews your financial eligibility. S/he also determines if the service(s) you apply for is/are covered, in compliance with the Legal Aid Act Please note that eligibility assessments are not billed to customers and cannot be done over the phone.

Who qualifies for legal aid?

Eligibility takes into account your financial situation and service coverage. If you are eligible, you may fall under one of two categories: free eligibility, or eligibility with contribution (between $100 and $800). If you receive welfare or social solidarity program benefits, you are automatically eligible for legal aid.

Assessment of financial eligibility

In order to determine your financial eligibility to legal aid, we assess the following, with respect to you and your family.

A. Your gross annual income
(for the previous and current year)

All sources of income are taken into account, such as:

– employment income;
– business income;
– income from real estate;
– employment insurance benefits;
– CNESST (formerly CSST) income replacement indemnities;
– SAAQ income replacement indemnities;
– wage insurance benefits;
– child and spousal support;
– scholarships and other benefits;
– old-age pension;
– Quebec Pension Plan.

Deductions that may apply to your income:

– expenses to alleviate a serious physical or mental deficiency;
– child care fees actually paid out, to the extent of the amount covered under the provincial tax credit;
– child and spousal support actually paid out;
– school fees deductible under the Taxation Act..

B. The value of your assets

The value of your house and other buildings (standardized value from an up-to-date tax account), and of your investments (RRSP, etc.).
Deductions that may be applied to the value of your assets:

– mortgages;
– loans.

C. Your liquid assets

Also taken into account are amounts held in your bank accounts or in cash, as well as short-terms assets that can be turned into cash, such as shares and savings bonds.

Eligibility scales: Free Eligibility or Eligibility with Contribution
To learn more about eligibility scales, please click on the links below. These PDF files correspond, respectively, to the Free Eligibility Scale, and the Eligibility with Contribution Scale. For more information, you can also visit the Commission des services juridiques website. 

Free Eligibility Scale (PDF – fr)

Eligibility with Contribution Scale (PDF – fr)

Are minors eligible to receive legal aid?

Yes, in the following circumstances:

if s/he is charged with a criminal offense under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA); in such circumstances, only the income and liquid assets of the minor are taken into consideration, not those of the parents;

if s/he is facing proceedings from the Director of Youth Protection; in such circumstances, only the income and liquid assets of the minor are taken into consideration, not those of the parents;

if s/he needs representation in Superior Court (custody and access rights disputes, setting of child support); in such circumstances, only the income and liquid assets of the minor are taken into consideration, not those of the parents.

Please note that there may a cost recovery, as per Article 39 of the Legal Aid Regulation.

Homologation Assistance Service (HAS) and SARPA or Service administratif de rajustement des pensions alimentaires pour enfants (a service to modify child support payments without going to court):

Exceptionally, for HAS and SARPA, applicants who were deemed financially inadmissible to receive legal aid may still choose to cover the costs as follows:

HAS: $558 (subject to indexation);
SARPA: $50 (subject to indexation).

droit criminel

2023 – All rights reserved – LEGAL AID OFFICE