Legal Aid

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I applied for Legal Aid a while ago and I don’t have a lawyer yet. What do I do?

    It may take a while for Legal Aid to find you a lawyer. You can speed up the process by calling law firms and asking if one of their lawyers would accept your file through Legal Aid. If you find a lawyer to take your file, contact Legal Aid and let them know.

    It is very important that you attend all of your upcoming court dates whether or not you have a lawyer.  If you have an upcoming court date, or if you urgently need a lawyer, contact Legal Aid  and let them know.

  • What other information should I provide when applying for Legal Aid?

    In addition to information about proof of earnings, you should also provide the following:

    – documents about your case (including copies of court orders)

    – your court date, if you have one

    – your lawyer’s name, if you’ve found a lawyer

    – information about your debts, assets and expenses.


  • What cases can Legal Aid help with?

    If you qualify, Legal Aid can help with:

      • Family law matters like divorce, parenting arrangements, and support
      • Child protection matters
      • Adult and youth criminal matters
      • Disputes involving social assistance
      • Immigration and refugee matters
      • Residential Tenancies
      • Public interest cases involving human rights, poverty, consumer, environmental, Indigenous matters

    Legal Aid does not help with wills, powers of attorney, estates, real estate, property division, corporate matters or civil litigation (suing someone, or being sued).

  • How do I qualify for Legal Aid?

    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.

  • What proof of earnings should I include when applying for Legal Aid?

    If you are employed, you should include:

    • your last 3 pay stubs, or
    • a copy of your last tax return.

    If another family member, including a common law spouse, lives with you and earns an income you should bring their last 3 pay stubs as well.

    If you have other sources of income, you should include additional documentation:

    • If you are on Employment Insurance (EI):
      • An Employment Insurance Commission stub,
    • If you are receiving a pension or worker’s compensation:
      • a stub, statement, or photocopy of your last cheque.

    If you are receiving assistance (EIA), bring your social assistance number, and your budget letter (if available).

    If you are self-employed, include your last income tax return.


  • Is there a charge for the Legal Aid application?

    There is usually a $25 fee for applying for Legal Aid.

    In certain cases, for example, if you are on social assistance (EIA), a full-time student, in a women’s shelter or a mental health facility, the fee can be waived.

    Let Legal Aid know if you are not able to pay the fee.

  • What if I have assets, but no access to them?

    Legal Aid may still appoint a lawyer for you, but if you get a settlement, you will have to pay Legal Aid back with some of this money.

    If you own property, Legal Aid may 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. You can also make payment arrangements with Legal Aid and once you finish the payments, Legal Aid will remove the lien.

  • Are there different types of financial assistance through Legal Aid?

    Yes. Some people may qualify to have their legal costs paid entirely by Legal Aid, others who have a greater ability to pay may qualify for Legal Aid’s Agreement to Pay (ATP) program.

    Under the ATP program, you will have to make an initial payment as well as interest-free monthly payments until your fees plus the 25% program fee are paid. As long as you keep making your monthly payments, Legal Aid will continue to pay your lawyer fees.

    For more information about Legal Aid services and financial rules, contact Legal Aid or visit their website

    You can also take a look at Legal Aid’s financial guidelines.

  • Can I ask for a change of lawyer through Legal Aid?

    A change of lawyers will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances. For more information, contact Legal Aid directly.

  • What happens if I need a lawyer right away through Legal Aid?

    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.

    For more information, contact Legal Aid directly.

  • How do I contact Legal Aid?

    By Phone


    Toll-Free 1-866-800-8056


    On-line Application 

    Application Centres


    Phone:  (204) 985-8500 or 1-800-261-2960

    Monday and Tuesday:  12:30 to 4:00 pm

    Wednesday and Thursday: 1:30 to 4:00 pm


    Legal Aid also has offices outside of Winnipeg you can contact by phone:

    Brandon – 1-800-876-7326 or (204) 729-3484

    Dauphin – 1-877-622-4660 or (204) 622-4666

    The Pas – 1-855-775-2397 or (204) 627-4837

    Thompson – 1-855-444-4665 or (204) 677-1224

  • Is there an emergency Legal Aid number if I’ve been arrested?

    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.

  • How do I find out whether my application for Legal Aid has been approved?

    It usually takes about 1 to 2 weeks for Legal Aid to process your application. To check on the status of your application you can contact the Application Centre where you applied:

    • Winnipeg: (204) 985-8500 or 1-800-261-2960
    • Brandon: 1-800-876-7326 or (204) 729-3484
    • Dauphin: 1-877-622-4660 or (204) 622-4666
    • The Pas: 1-855-775-2397 or (204) 627-4837
    • Thompson: 1-855-444-4665 or (204) 677-1224
  • Legal Aid turned down my application. Can I appeal?

    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:

    Executive Director

    Legal Aid Manitoba

    4th Floor – 287 Broadway Ave.

    Winnipeg MB  R3C 0R9

    In your appeal form you should explain why you think the decision was wrong. The Executive Director will consider your reasons and will review your file. The Executive Director will either approve Legal Aid or not. If your appeal is refused, you will receive a letter telling you why. The Executive Director will decide on your appeal within 1 – 2 weeks, unless more information is needed from you.

    For more information about appealing Legal Aid’s decision check Legal Aid’s website

    If the Executive Director denies your appeal, you can appeal to Legal Aid’s Appeal Committee.


  • Can I appeal the decision of the Executive Director of Legal Aid?

    If the Executive Director refuses your appeal, you can appeal that 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 by mail or fax to:

    Legal Aid Management Council Appeal Committee

    4th Floor – 287 Broadway

    Winnipeg MB R3C 0R9

    Fax:  204-944-8582

    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 within 1 – 2 weeks. 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.

  • Legal Aid told me that I qualify financially, but the criminal offence I’ve been charged with is a summary offence with no possibility of jail time, so they won’t appoint a lawyer. I cannot afford a lawyer. Do I have any other options?

    You can contact the University of Manitoba Community Law Centre. This office is staffed by law students, who are supervised by Legal Aid lawyers. They may be able to help you with your matter. You can contact the University of Manitoba Law Centre at:

    Faculty of Law – 101 Robson Hall (basement)           Winnipeg Application Centre

    University of Manitoba                                                    100 – 287 Broadway

    224 Dysart Road                                                                Winnipeg, MB R3C 0R9

    Winnipeg MB R3T 2N2

    Phone: 204-985-5206

    Drop-Ins Tuesday 10 am to 4 pm                                 Drop-Ins Friday 1 pm to 4 pm


  • Will Legal Aid force me to sell my property?

    If you qualify financially, but have a home, Legal Aid may put a lien on your property for the amount of legal fees that they pay on your behalf. 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 or remortgage your home.

  • I have gone through Legal Aid for a separation, but now my partner and I are back together. Will I have a hard time getting Legal Aid again?

    If you still qualify for Legal Aid, Legal Aid usually agrees to appoint a lawyer for new legal proceedings. However, if this has happened several times, it may be difficult to get another lawyer from Legal Aid. Legal Aid will look at each situation on a case by case basis. If you are in doubt, contact Legal Aid.

  • I am low income and need a will drafted. Am I eligible for Legal Aid?

    No, Legal Aid does not cover wills and estates and other solicitor transactions like real estate and corporate/commercial matters.


    If you are a senior you can contact A & O Services for help to have a will, power of attorney or health care directive drafted.

    A & O Services

    200-280 Smith Street

    Winnipeg, Manitoba

    Phone: (204) 956-6440



    You can also call law firms on your own and ask how much they charge for a will.

  • Will Legal Aid help me sue someone for money I am owed?

    No. Civil litigation matters are not covered by Legal Aid.

    Next Steps:

    You will have to find your own lawyer for this. You may ask if a lawyer would accept your file on a contingency basis. Contingency agreements mean that the lawyer will be paid a percentage of  a judgement or settlement in your favour. You will still be responsible to pay upfront costs like filing fees and disbursement costs in a contingency agreement. Not all lawyers accept files contingency files.

    If the amount you are owed is $15,000 or less, you may sue in Small Claims Court and represent yourself.  We have information about Small Claims Court on our Website.