Frequently Asked Questions
If you qualify, Legal Aid can assist with:
Legal Aid makes a decision by looking at your financial situation and the type of legal case that you have. Your financial situation includes how much money you make, how many people are in your family, and what assets and debts you have. If you want a separation or divorce, Legal Aid will look at your income separate from your partner’s income.
If you work as an employee, you should include a pay stub or letter from your employer. This letter should state where you work, the date you started, and your current salary. For other sources of income, you should include additional documentation:
There is usually a $25 fee for applying to Legal Aid. In certain circumstance, such as if you are on social assistance (EIA), the fee can be waived.
Legal Aid may still appoint a lawyer for you but they may require you to sign a direction to pay. This means that if you later get a settlement of your assets, you will have to pay back Legal Aid with some of this money. If you own property, Legal Aid may wish to place a lien on that property. A lien means that fees will be paid if and when the property is dealt with in the future.
Legal Aid may pay for your legal costs in full, or if you are financially able to pay for your legal fees at Legal Aid rates, they may provide services through the Agreement to Pay (ATP) program. The ATP program will require you to make an initial payment as well as interest-free monthly payments until your fees are paid. As long as you keep making your monthly payments, Legal Aid will continue to pay your lawyer fees.
For more information, visit https://www.legalaid.mb.ca/financial-rules/paying-for-legal-aid/.
If you have a good reason for the change Legal Aid will usually allow one change of lawyer. Any requests for an additional change of counsel are only granted in exceptional circumstances.
If you are dealing with a lawyer in private practice and there is not enough time to wait for the Legal Aid Certificate, your lawyer can call Legal Aid, explain the problem and get emergency approval right away if you qualify. If you don’t have a lawyer and can’t afford one, call Legal Aid and tell them that you have an urgent problem. Legal Aid can often appoint a lawyer for you quickly in emergency situations.
In Winnipeg, you can apply for Legal Aid at their Application Centre at 100 – 287 Broadway Ave. The hours are:
Legal Aid also has offices outside of Winnipeg you can contact by phone:
Other Legal Aid offices:
Legal Aid has lawyers on call 24 hours a day. If you have been arrested, let the police know you wish to speak with a Legal Aid lawyer and they will put you in touch.
It usually takes about 10 business days for Legal Aid to process your application. To check on the status of your application you can contact the Application Centre where you applied:
Yes, you can appeal the decision to the Executive Director. An appeal form will be sent to you with the Notice of Rejection. The appeal must be submitted within 30 days of when you receive the Notice of Rejection in the mail. The appeal form should be sent to:
Say why you think the decision was wrong. The Executive Director will consider your reasons and will review your file. He will either approve Legal Aid or not. If he refuses your appeal, he will send you a letter telling you why. The Executive Director will make a decision on your appeal within 5 working days, unless he needs further information from you.
If the Executive Director refuses your appeal, you can appeal his decision to Legal Aid’s Appeal Committee. You can appeal by filling in the form that came with the Executive Director’s refusal, or, by writing a letter and sending it to:
In your Appeal letter, say why you think the decision was wrong. The Appeal Committee will consider your reasons and will review your file. The Appeal Committee will then make its decision. You will receive a letter notifying you about the Appeal Committee’s decision. The Appeal Committee’s decision is final. There are no further appeals.
You can contact the University of Manitoba Law Centre at:
If you financially qualify but have a home, Legal Aid may request that you sign a Charge on Land. Legal Aid can put a lien on your property for the amount of legal fees that you incur. You can make payment arrangements with Legal Aid and once you finish the payments, the lien will be removed. Legal Aid will not force you to sell your home.
In this situation, Legal Aid usually agrees to appoint a lawyer for new legal proceedings, if you still qualify. If this has happened several times, it may be difficult to get another lawyer from Legal Aid. Legal Aid will look at each situation individually. If you are in doubt, apply for Legal Aid and they will make a decision.
Legal Aid does not cover wills and estates and other solicitor transactions such as real estate and corporate/commercial matters. If you are a senior you can contact Age & Opportunity Services for help to have a will, power of attorney or health care directive drafted for a reasonable fee.
Civil litigation matters are not covered by Legal Aid. You may have to try and find a lawyer who will take the matter on a contingency basis if you do not have sufficient funds to cover the ongoing cost for that lawyer’s time. Contingency agreements mean that the lawyer will be paid for time spent on the case if the outcome is in your favour through a settlement or judgment. Actual expenses, such as filing fees and documentary matters must still be paid by you.