Referrals - Criminal Law

Our clinic does not practice criminal law.  However, we have put together a list of links below to criminal law services and information offered in Hastings, Prince Edward and Lennox & Addington Counties.   


Legal Aid Ontario


Legal Aid offers certificates (to applicants who qualify financially) that you can take to a lawyer to obtain representation on certain types of criminal law matters.  Legal Aid will provide you with a list of lawyers in your area who accept these certificates.


Services provided by Legal Aid Ontario include:

  • Advice Lawyers - for family and criminal advice (20 minutes of free advice to qualified callers) or in-person criminal law advice at the Criminal Law Information Centres (see below)

  • Certificates - if you qualify. Lawyers accepting these certificates will represent you in family, criminal or immigration law matters

  • Criminal Duty Counsel - services are offered in most courts, see LAO's Duty Counsel page for more info or the Duty Counsel Contact page for an office in your area (Belleville Criminal Duty Counsel: 613-962-9106, ext. 2750.  Napanee Criminal Duty Counsel: 613-354-5774)

  • 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.  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.

Visit their Criminal Law page or Youth Criminal Law page for more details.  

Apply for Legal Aid or Get Legal Advice

To find out more about Legal Aid Services, to apply for a Legal Aid certificate, or to receive 20 minutes of free legal advice over the phone, call Legal Aid toll-free at:

  • 1-800-668-8258   or  TTY (telephone device for the deaf): 1-866-641-8867

Press "0" and ask to speak to a Client Service Representative.  View their poster (English, Français) for eligibility requirements.


Current Legal Aid clients can also call to get information about their application or appeal status, find out if their lawyer has acknowledged their certificate, or update their personal information (such as their address).


In-Custody Callers


For those entering custody, there is a “Brydges” hotline available 24/7 in any language, available to everyone (whether you qualify for legal aid or not).


Let the police officer know you would like to speak to duty counsel. The officer will call the hotline and duty counsel will speak with you within 30 minutes. For more information, read the new archive about the Brydges Hotline.


Legal Aid Ontario's Young Person’s Duty Counsel Hotline: 1-800-265-0451 or 1-800-561-2561

Legal information via an automated message for first time, under-18 offenders, accused of non-violent crime. Leave a message for Legal Aid duty counsel, who will return the call and provide 20 minutes of free summary legal advice.


Criminal Law Information Centres (CLIC)


Legal Aid provides an advice lawyer at the Criminal Law Information Centre (CLIC) to answer questions specifically about criminal law and review your legal documents. 


Belleville CLIC:  Thursdays at 12-3 p.m., Quinte Consolidated Courthouse, 15 Bridge Street West.



LawFacts Website - a legal information resource from Legal Aid Ontario.  Written by Legal Aid lawyers from across Ontario, LawFacts provides legal information about criminal, family and refugee law, as well as court-related mental health issues.



Other Sources of Information


Below are other places you can go to obtain more information on criminal law.


Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) and Your Legal Rights


CLEO: - visit their criminal law section for information on all areas of criminal law.



Ministry of Attorney General


Criminal Law Page - provides links to information such as what happens in Criminal Court, if you are an accused person, if you are a witness, and more.



Ontario Court of Justice


Self-Represented Parties Guides:

Other links:

Pardons (Record Suspensions)


Record Suspensions Tip Sheet - Criminal Records and Your Employment


Information on the Pardons Program (now called Record Suspensions) - If your past criminal record is preventing you from getting a job, you can request a Record Suspension.  The Records Suspension program allows people to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records. Read the Fact Sheet for more details. 


Get a Record Suspension Application and Guide on the Parole Board of Canada website or request one by calling the Record Suspension Information Line at 1-800-874-2652.


John Howard Society (Belleville) - assists with pardon applications - 613-968-6628 - see their brochure on Record Suspensions and Waivers


Fees have increased significantly for applying for a Record Suspension.  (There are also changes to eligibility.) If you need help with these fees and are on social assistance, check with your local Ontario Works office to see if they will pay these fees.  Some offices also hold workshops to help you with the application itself.


Other - website for youth preparing for court


John Howard Society of Belleville and District - provides supports and services to those at risk of entering the criminal justice system, offenders, ex-offenders, their families, schools, communities and the public at large that encourages reintegration, community safety and prevention of crime. 


The John Howard Society of Belleville and District serves Hastings County, Prince Edward County and Quinte West.


Two of the programs offered by this branch of John Howard are:

Referrals can be made by phone, fax, email or in person and can be made by parents or the youth themselves. Their contact numbers are: phone 613-968-6628, fax 613-968-6696, email


The John Howard Society of Belleville also has a help line available for both youth aged 12-17 or their parents at 613-922-9355.


Justice for Children and Youth - provides select legal representation to low-income children and youth in Toronto and vicinity. They are a non-profit legal aid clinic that specializes in protecting the rights of those facing conflicts with the legal system, education, social service or mental health systems. They give summary legal advice, information and assistance to young people, parents (in education matters), professionals and community groups across Ontario.  Their website offers many publications, pamphlets and newsletters.


They have information and pamphlets on many issues affecting youth including Youth Criminal Justice.


Office of the Correctional Investigator - an Ombudsman for federal offenders, to make complaints about federal correctional facilities - 1-877-885-8848


Ontario Ombudsman - for complaints about provincial institutions


Queen's Legal Aid - Prison Law Clinic - provices legal advice, assistance, and representation in matters relating to prison and parole in Kingston-area penitentiaries and Warkworth Institution




Latest Criminal Law Resources on Your Legal Rights


Other help, in the following areas:

Where Else to Go For Help chart (PDF) - referrals for a wide variety of matters

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