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Legal News

Tom Rees | Criminal Defence Lawyer Winnipeg
16
Feb

How to Apply for Legal Aid in Manitoba

If you are charged with a criminal offence, or if you have a family or child protection matter, you may qualify for Legal Aid. Lawyers at Rees & Dyck Criminal Defence can assist you to apply for Legal Aid.

Legal Aid Manitoba (LAM) provides legal services in two ways, through LAM staff lawyers and through Private Bar Lawyers using LAM Certificates. LAM staff lawyers are employees of LAM and are assigned cases through an internal LAM process and by request. These lawyers work for LAM in a number of offices around downtown Winnipeg and throughout rural Manitoba.

There are also Private Bar Lawyers who assist people who qualify for Legal Aid. The private lawyers are given a LAM Certificate, a document that provides certain fees and disbursements for services provided by the lawyers. For example, a person charged with Robbery who qualifies for Legal Aid can request that LAM grant a Private Bar lawyer of their choice a LAM Certificate. Most criminal law firms provide legal services to people who pay private retainers and people who qualify for Legal Aid.

For criminal cases, a person must meet two criteria to qualify for a Legal Aid:

  1. Financial: LAM uses financial guidelines to determine who qualifies. Those guidelines are located at the bottom of this page.
  2. Seriousness of the Charge(s): A person be charged with an indictable offence or must face a possible jail sentence, or the likelihood they will lose their job if convicted.

In order to qualify for Legal Aid, you must first apply. The Legal Aid application is a 4 page document that asks for information about you, your charge(s), your financial situation, and your family situation. LAM usually requires you to attach supporting documents like pay stubs or tax returns to your application in order to process it. In many cases, LAM also charges a $25 fee to process your application. The fee is not generally refundable.

In certain limited cases, a lawyer can make a Rowbotham application asking that a Judge order your fees be covered. For most cases, applying for Legal Aid is a lengthy and complicated process with time limits and limited appeals. Your best bet is to find someone who has experience applying for Legal Aid to assist you to get it right the first time. Criminal lawyers at Rees and Dyck Criminal Defence can assist you to apply for Legal Aid. Our lawyers have experience with the rules and can ensure any follow-up required by Legal Aid is completed.

The following table outlines LAM’s financial guidelines and is from Legal Aid Manitoba’s Website. Family size includes you, and the people with whom you live.

The following guidelines are used to decide if you get legal aid. These are guidelines only. We assess each applicant individually. These charts are based on gross family income.

 

FAMILY SIZE
FREE LEGAL AID
1
$14,000
2
$18,000
3
$23,000
4
$27,000
5
$31,000
6
$34,000
more than 6
$37,000

 

People who exceed the guidelines but can afford to pay some or all of the cost for a lawyer, may still qualify for legal aid. This option is more affordable than hiring a private lawyer. People in the following range may be eligible to receive legal assistance but will be expected to pay back some of their fees and disbursements plus the 25% program fee.

 

FAMILY SIZE
PARTIAL PAY-BACK
1
$16,000
2
$20,000
3
$25,000
4
$29,000
5
$33,000
6
$36,000
more than 6
$39,000

 

People in the following financial range may get a lawyer if they can pay back all of their fees and disbursements plus the 25% program fee within the lifetime of the certificate.

 

FAMILY SIZE
FULL PAY-BACK
1
$23,000
2
$27,000
3
$31,000
4
$34,000
5
$37,000
6
$40,000
more than 6
$43,000

 

Legal Aid Manitoba’s Management Council sets eligibility guidelines.  

*The information on this page is general information and is not legal advice.