Getting legal help
Mental health duty counsel
If you are appearing in mental health court on a criminal matter without a lawyer, duty counsel can assist you at your first appearance. After the first appearance, if you cannot apply for legal aid on your own, you can receive help in one of the following ways:
Through a lawyer or criminal duty counsel
Lawyers or duty counsel can request legal aid on your behalf if you are incapable of applying for it. Legal Aid Ontario will appoint a criminal lawyer with experience representing clients with mental health issues to assist you with your case.
With a legal aid representative or a Patient Advocate/Rights Advisor
If you are in custody or receiving treatment at a mental health care facility, you can get assistance with legal aid applications from the Patient Advocate/Rights Advisor in the mental health facility where you are located. Correctional facilities also have legal aid representatives that can help you apply.
Patient advocatePatient advocates act as a go-between for patients and health care providers. They can speak on behalf of patients if they are unable to communicate effectively.
Rights advisorRights advisors help patients understand what’s happening in situations where their legal status has been changed. Rights advisors inform patients of their rights and options, help patients make applications to the Consent and Capacity Board, and obtain legal counsel if necessary.
Consent and Capacity BoardThe Consent and Capacity Board (CCB) is an independent provincial tribunal. Most of the CCB’s work involves a review of a person's involuntary status in a psychiatric facility under the Mental Health Act, or a review under the Health Care Consent Act of a person's capacity to consent to or refuse treatment.
Find out more.
For more information on mental health/capacity please refer to the links below:
- Dealing with mental incapacity
Mental incapacity is when someone cannot understand relevant information or cannot appreciate what may happen as a result of decisions they make — or do not make — about their finances, health or personal care.
- Drug & Alcohol Helpline
Free Health Services information: 1-800-565-8603
- Mental Health Helpline
Free Health Services informstion: 1-800-531-2600
- Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline
Free Health Service Information: 1-888-230-3505
- Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office
Information about mental health and patients’ rights in Ontario.
- Your Legal Rights: Health and Disability – Mental health