Our Services - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do you issue Legal Aid certificates?

  2. What if I need an emergency legal aid certificate because I am a victim of domestic violence?

  3. How much do your services cost?

  4. How do I qualify for your help?

  5. What kind of community development work do you do?

  6. What kind of law reform work do you do?

  7. How do I get help from legal clinic staff?

  8. What if I don't have a phone?

  9. Can I see a lawyer or legal worker right away?

  10. What if you can't help me?


 

1.   Do you issue Legal Aid certificates?

 

We do not issue Legal Aid certificates.  Contact Legal Aid Ontario to see if you qualify for a certificate. 

 


 

2.  What if I need an emergency Legal Aid certificate because I am a victim of domestic violence?

 

We can issue special certificates for up to 2 hours of emergency legal advice for victims of domestic violence.  Legal Aid Ontario also offers the same service.

 


 

3.  How much do your services cost?

 

All our services are free.  We give free legal information and advice on the telephone or by appointment.  We encourage people to call first. 

 

Clients, where able, may be asked to pay for out of pocket legal disbursements such as court filing fees and medical reports.

 


 

4.  How do I qualify for your help?

 

Information and advice is provided to most callers.  Legal representation is provided only to people within our financial guidelines. You must also live within the counties of Hastings, Prince Edward or Lennox & Addington.

 

The clinic sets priorities annually for representation in legal matters.  Self-advocacy is promoted and encouraged.

 



5.  What kind of community development work do you do?

Clinic staff work with community groups and individuals on issues of concern to people living on a low income in many different ways.  We are currently involved in various special projects, including:

Click a project name above for more information or go to our Community Development page



6.  What kind of law reform work do you do?

We advocate for positive changes to laws affecting people living on a low income in our community.

Law reform activities can include:

  • creating awareness about the need for law reform and systemic injustice

  • working with groups on law reform projects

  • meeting and working with government departments to improve their service delivery to poor and disadvantaged groups

  • writing to and meeting with politicians at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government

  • linking our clients and community to law reform initiatives in other communities

  • preparing briefs and submissions to government bodies

  • appellate work and test case litigation

Go to our Law Reform page for more information and how you can help.

 


 

7.  How do I get help from legal clinic staff?

 

Please phone our legal clinic for help from Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  We use a voice mail answering system so that we can serve you better. Your call is very important to us - please don't be discouraged by the voice mail! You can just press "0" to bypass the welcoming message and speak to a staff member who can help you. Usually your call will be answered immediately, unless it is a Thursday morning. Thursday mornings are reserved for staff and team meetings and we do not provide reception and intake services from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  However, if you have an emergency, we screen calls on Thursday mornings or you can drop into our Belleville office for help.

 

For most callers, we are able to provide information and referrals within one hour, and if necessary, book an appointment to either speak to or see one of our staff - lawyer or legal worker - usually within a week.

 


 

8.  What if I don't have a phone?

 

Many of our clients don't have phones. You are not alone. 

 

If you can't use a friend or family member's phone, you can use a public phone and dial our 1-877-966-8686 number and you won't have to pay for the call.  Or if you need to, you can "drop in" to our Belleville office. 

 

We do discourage "drop ins" at our satellite office locations as our schedule for staffing these offices tends to change based on demand, availability of staff, and the scheduling of hearings in our satellite areas.  So please try to call first.  You don't want to have to make a trip only to find the office closed.

 


 

9.  Can I see a lawyer or legal worker right away?

 

We have organized our services so that we "triage" based on urgency.  "Triage" means we try to deal with problems in the order of how serious they are rather than on a "first come, first served" basis.  This is because if we don't deal with some issues right away, like having no money for food or rent, or being threatened with eviction, very serious consequences can result and cause great harm to our callers.

 

So if there is no pending legal hearing, or you have enough time to file an appeal or court documents, your problem could get less priority.

 


 

10.  What if you can't help me?

 

We'll try to refer you to someone who can.  Please see our Referrals page for some ideas of where else you can go for help.  We have a great chart called Where Else to Go for Help that contains referrals on many issues.

 

You can also call the Law Society Referral Service provided by the Law Society. This call is now free of charge. They will refer you to a local lawyer or licenced paralegal for a free half-hour consultation. Call 1-800-268-8326.

 

We are also working with local private bar lawyers on a Pro Bono Project.