The legal aid program provides confidential legal services, advice, and representation by a lawyer for residents of the Northwest Territories who would be unable to afford these services.
The Outreach Lawyer can provide individuals with up to three hours of free confidential advice. Details are available at Outreach Legal Aid Clinics. While this service is provided by the Legal Aid Commission, there is no financial means test required to access this limited service.
Full service legal aid is typically provided for:
- criminal and Youth Criminal Justice Act charges
- serious offenses under the canadian Criminal Code and other federal laws
- less serious offenses where you might go to jail or lose your way of making a living
- some appeals of court decisions
- child support, custody, or access cases
- spousal support cases
- division of property and divorce when related to child support
- child welfare matters
Legal aid is not available for:
- cases where you are being sued or want to sue someone
- simple divorces
- hearings for failing to comply with a support order
- libel or slander cases
- matters dealing with elections
- human rights matters
- first offense impaired driving, careless driving, or consumption of liquor by a minor (if there are no other charges)
- Workers Safety and Compensation Commission matters
In order to qualify for legal aid, you must meet financial eligibility requirements (below). You may be required to pay some or all of the costs of your case as determined by your total household income and number of dependents. You may also be required to pay in the event that you receive compensation or property from your case.
Applying for Legal Aid
To apply for legal aid, you must make an appointment with one of the legal aid offices in Yellowknife, or with a community court worker for assistance with filling out an application.
If you are on income support, you must provide a current statement or letter confirming you as an income support client. If you are not on income support, you are required to provide the most recent available statements for any monthly income received by yourself and your current spouse or partner, including:
- your two most recent pay stubs,
- child tax credit,
- employment insurance,
- child support or maintenance payments,
- worker's compensation or disability benefits,
- pension income,
- tenant income including roommates,
- student financial assistance, and
- compensation for volunteer services.
In addition, a complete valuation of assets held by yourself and your current partner is required, including:
- bank statements;
- investments, including RRSPs, GICs, and Canada Savings Bonds;
- vehicles including boats, snowmobiles, etc;
- lines of credit;
- real estate, including mortgaged property.
If approved, a lawyer from the legal aid panel of lawyers will be assigned to represent you. If you could be sentenced with life imprisonment, you can choose a lawyer residing in the Northwest Territories to represent you.