Free and Low Cost Legal Services
When a lawyer takes on a case for free it is called acting “pro bono”. Sometimes lawyers will offer highly reduced rates, which is sometimes called acting “low-bono”.
Clicklaw Help Map: This valuable website guides you to places you can get help with your case. You describe the issue you are facing, and it will provide links to places to get help.
Justice Access Centres: Located in Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver, and Victoria. Justice Access Centres are funded by the British Columbia government. At a Justice Access Centre they will talk to you about your legal problem and let you know what help may be available.
Justice Education Society's website on free and low cost legal services: This website provides further information on where to find, and how to hire, a lawyer in BC.
Access Pro Bono – Runs clinics throughout the province and helps people find lawyers who may work for free
Access Pro Bono is an organization dedicated to helping those in need get legal help.
Access Pro Bono offers a range of assistance. A list of the available services can be found here. Notable services offered include:
- Clinics: It runs clinics throughout the province where lawyers provide free advice. You can find out more information about their clinics by calling 604-878-7400 (in Greater Vancouver) or 1-877-762-6664 (“1-87PROBONO4”) in other areas
- Roster Program: It also runs a “Roster Program” where it will help pair lawyers with clients who they may help throughout their case on a pro-bono basis. If a lawyer agrees to take on your case, they might agree to provide help only with one part of the case, or may represent you through the entire case
In addition, Access Pro Bono has programs aimed specifically at providing help with Supreme Court Civil Chambers, and assists with matters before the Residential Tenancy branch, Mental Health Act reviews, and appearances before the Employment Standards Branch.
This is just an overview of what Access Pro Bono is and does. Contact them directly to see if they could provide more assistance with your case.
Contact Access Pro Bono:
Telephone: 604-878-7400 (Vancouver Area) or 1-877-762-6664 (toll-free)
Legal Aid – Provides advice, as well as representation with some family, criminal law, immigration, mental health, and prison law issues
Legal Aid, run through the Legal Services Society, is a program aimed at getting people help, particularly with family and criminal law issues. It also has a range of free legal information.
There are locations throughout the province, which can be found here.
Information on how to apply for legal aid can be found here.
Information on whether you qualify for legal aid can be found here.
Contact Legal Aid
Telephone: 604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver) or 1-866-577-2525 (elsewhere in BC)
The Law Centre – University of Victoria clinic providing advice, assistance, and representation to those who cannot afford a lawyer
The Law Centre is run by the University of Victoria. It focuses on assisting people in the Capital Regional District. It also provides legal education programs to the public. Staff lawyers are supported by law students to provide representation, information and advice on a range of legal issues. Some examples of the cases that they take on are found here.
Contact the Law Centre
Law Students' Legal Advice Program – University of British Columbia clinic providing advice, assistance and representation to those who cannot afford a lawyer
The Law Students' Legal Advice Program is run by the University of British Columbia. It focuses on assisting people in the Vancouver area. Staff lawyers are supported by law students to provide representation, information and advice on range of legal issues. Information on what sorts of cases they can help with can be found here.
Contact the Law Students' Legal Advice Program
Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) – Can provide free assistance for certain issues
The Community Legal Assistance Society can provide free legal assistance to some people in relation to some disputes. Specifically, they can assist with some housing, human rights complaints, mental health issues, access to government benefits, and work-related issues.
Contact the Community Legal Assistance Society
Telephone: 604-673-3112 or 1-888-685-6222
Online intake form: Available here.
Assistance With Tribunals – There are a number of organizations that provide free or low cost help to individuals appearing before tribunals
If you are appearing before an administrative tribunal (such as the Workers’ Compensation Board), there may be specialized help available. For example, the Worker’s Advisers Office provides free advice and assistance to people making Workers’ Compensation claims. Similarly, the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC) can provide assistance with a matter before the Residential Tenancy Branch. Contact the tribunal you are going to appear at. They may be able to tell you where to go for assistance.