Legal Aid Manitoba is an organization that provides staff lawyers and block fees for services by private defence lawyers. Legal Aid Manitoba looks at certain criteria to establish whether a person qualifies. It provides Legal Aid Certificates for Criminal, Family and Child Protection matters in Manitoba. If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, you can apply for Legal Aid coverage.
Legal Aid looks at your income and the seriousness of the charge to decide whether you qualify for a Legal Aid certificate.
In most cases, you will have to pay an Application Fee to Legal Aid of $25. Legal Aid Manitoba does not usually refund that fee.
You are also usually required to prove your income, which often means providing copies of recent pay stubs and income tax returns.
Once you’ve filled in the application form, paid the fee, and provided your financial information, your application is ready to be processed. Processing times vary greatly, but usually take between two weeks and one month.
You are notified by mail of the results of your application. If you are approved, you can contact your lawyer to find out the next step for your particular case. If you are denied, you may be able to appeal the decision. Special rules apply to the appeal process.
The financial guidelines to qualify for Legal Aid coverage leave many Manitobans without access to Legal Aid. A family of four qualifies for full Legal Aid coverage if their total yearly family income is $27,000 or less. Legal Aid will sometimes make arrangements with clients that force the client to pay the fees back, but even that program only increases the yearly limit by $7000.
Once you submit your application, you only have a certain amount of time to provide any further information Legal Aid Manitoba requests. Make sure to check you mail frequently and answer their questions promptly so you do not have to start the application process over again.
If you have questions about applying for Legal Aid or would like assistance with your Legal Aid application, please do not hesitate to contact a lawyer at Tom Rees & Company.
*note: The information on the page is not legal advice.