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I Can’t Afford a Lawyer!

April 20th, 2017
Help in pile of paper

We know many people visit our website or contact us looking for a cheaper solution to obtaining legal counsel. Almost universally the fear is that the cost of professional advice will be beyond their means.  Red Seal Notary Inc. is not a law firm, however, and cannot provide legal advice.

Take heart! Although we cannot give you legal advice ourselves, we can point out a few places you may look for advice and information. In this article we will provide you with links to resources you may use, including some free and relatively inexpensive sources of information that might be of assistance. Read on…

First off, legal advice is not always as out of reach as you might think.  Lawyers are in a competitive business.  If you shop around you may be able to find lawyers that can offer fees or payment plans that will fit your budget.  Many offer free consultations which allow you to determine exactly how you will be charged for their services, and often a reasonably accurate estimate of what the total fees will be.  Routine matters may even have a flat rate.

That being said, many people live on limited incomes, or may face a problem that is not routine, thus making it difficult to ascertain the cost of legal advice.

There are many alternate avenues to pursue if you find yourself low on funds but requiring legal help.

Legal Aid Clinics and programs are available across Canada and you can contact them to see if you and your matter would be covered by their plans.  These are usually restricted to limited types of legal matters, however, varying by Province and Territory. For information on your local Legal Aid options, please visit the appropriate links below:

Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Nunavut
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Yukon

There are also clinics and organizations such as Pro Bono Ontario that offer services through volunteers that are not limited to matters covered by legal aid funding.  The resources of these organizations is of course limited, however.

Unfortunately,  there are of course many people that simply cannot afford a lawyer, no matter how reasonable the fee.  Many will have matters that do not qualify for legal aid or free clinics.  You may also simply wonder if you even need a lawyer at all, or if it is ‘worth it’, in your particular situation.

There are many resources available to those who wish to gather information for themselves.  Almost all legislation and regulations in Canada are available for free online from government websites, or via libraries, Government offices or other online legal resources. Try some of the links below:

https://www.canlii.org/en/

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/

http://www.qp.alberta.ca/Laws_Online.cfm
http://www.bclaws.ca/
https://www.gov.mb.ca/queensprinter/
http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/attorney_general/acts_regulations.html
http://www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/titleindex.htm
http://nslegislature.ca/legc/index.htm
https://www.ontario.ca/laws
https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/legislation/all/all/a
http://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/english/sites/lois/quebec-a.htm
http://www.publications.gov.sk.ca/freelaw/

https://www.justice.gov.nt.ca/en/legislation/
http://www.nunavutlegislation.ca/
http://www.gov.yk.ca/legislation/

There are also a wide array of texts and self-help books on various topics that can assist you.  A great deal of case law is available online, as well.

Realistically, a self help book and doing a little research on the internet is no replacement for personalized advice from a licensed legal professional.  However, it may help you to decide if retaining counsel is worth it to you in your particular situation.  If your financial situation is dire, it may also be your only realistic option.

The following are selected titles available from Self Counsel Press, Canada’s leading publisher of legal self-help books. You will be directed to Self Counsel’s website for your actual purchase. Some of these titles are also conveniently available at our Toronto retail walk in locations.

Self-Counsel Press

Wills and Estates


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