Getting legal help

Certificate program

If you are eligible and face a serious legal matter, you can apply for a free legal aid certificate through our certificate program. A legal aid certificate is a voucher guaranteeing that the private practice lawyer who accepts your case will get paid for providing you with full representation for a certain number of hours.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you may be eligible for a legal aid certificate under a separate set of financial eligibility guidelines.

If you have an income or own property, you may qualify for a certificate with a contribution agreement. This means you will be required to repay LAO some or all of your legal fees.

Who can get a legal aid certificate?

To be eligible for a certificate, your legal problem has to be one that is covered by LAO. You will also need to take a financial test to see if your gross income from all sources is within the range of this chart:

Certificate eligibility

Step 1
Certificate eligibility thresholds

You will likely qualify if your annual gross family income is lower than column 1. If it is higher, move to Step 2.

Step 2
Contribution agreement

Monthly payments may be required if your annual gross family income is higher than column 1, but lower than column 2.

Domestic violence

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you will likely qualify if your gross family income is lower than the amounts below.

Certificate services eligibility, Nov. 1, 2014 to Mar. 31, 2015
Number of family members Step 1, income must be lower than Step 2, income must be lower than For domestic violence, gross family income must be lower than
1 $12,135 $14,045 $20,225
2 $20,993 $25,281 $30,337
3 $23,932 $29,461 $34,832
4 $27,042 $33,843 $41,573
5+ $30,016 $38,157 $48,315
Single boarders $7,978 $9,214 N/A


What happens if you’re not eligible for the certificate program?

If you are not eligible for LAO’s certificate program, there are other services available. Learn more about community legal clinics, duty counsel, our toll-free number, and family law services.

It is possible, in some cases, to appeal LAO’s decision relating to eligibility for the certificate program. Learn more about making an appeal or complaint.

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