Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
If you qualify, Legal Aid can help with:
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).
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 are employed, you should include:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
A change of lawyers will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances. For more information, contact Legal Aid directly.
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.
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
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 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:
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:
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.
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
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.
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
Drop-Ins Tuesday 10 am to 4 pm Drop-Ins Friday 1 pm to 4 pm
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.
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.
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
Phone: (204) 956-6440
You can also call law firms on your own and ask how much they charge for a will.
No. Civil litigation matters are not covered by Legal Aid.
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.