Who we are
We're the Legal Services Society. We provide legal aid in British Columbia.
It saved my life. [The lawyer] gave me some information, I used it, and everything worked out 100 percent. Within two days, I had my issues worked out — he did a really good job.”
The Legal Services Society (LSS) is a non-profit organization created by the LSS Act in 1979 to provide legal information, advice, and representation services to people with low incomes. Most people call us Legal Aid BC. Our priority is to serve the interests of people with low incomes. But many of our services are available to all British Columbians. For more about our history, here's a brief overview.
What we do
Every year we help tens of thousands of British Columbians with:
- serious family problems,
- child protection matters,
- immigration issues, and
- criminal law issues.
We do this by providing a range of services that help people resolve their legal problems. We determine the services we offer as part of our obligations under the LSS Act. Our services are offered at legal aid locations throughout the province.
We're also committed to working with our many partners in the justice system, sharing knowledge, and improving access to justice for the disadvantaged.
Our vision, mission, and values
Our vision, mission, and values statements guide our work and reflect our commitment to an integrated legal aid model.
Our vision is a British Columbia where all people are able to find timely and lasting solutions to their legal issues that improve their quality of life.
Our mission is to provide innovative and integrated services that enable clients to effectively address their legal issues in a broad social context.
- making a positive difference in our clients’ lives through legal aid services
- engaging clients in finding solutions that meet their legal needs
- recognizing diverse cultures and perspectives
- compassion, integrity, and respect in our relationships with clients, staff, and stakeholders
- collaboration with service partners and stakeholders
- innovative approaches to solving problems
- excellence and continuous improvement
- accountability and openness
Our standards of conductThe LSS Standards of Conduct policy describes the conduct expected of all LSS employees, and promotes integrity, respect, confidentiality, public responsibility, cultural competence and disclosure of wrongdoing as the society’s core principles. The Standards of Conduct also assures the public that LSS employees fulfill their duties honestly and impartially. To learn more, read the Standards of Conduct.
Legal aid clients are among the province’s most vulnerable and marginalized citizens. Our clients don't have the financial resources — or frequently the educational, social, or health resources — to effectively access the justice system when their families, freedom, or safety are at risk.
We strive to engage our clients in finding solutions to their legal problems. By taking an integrated approach, legal aid services can help clients prevent future legal issues and increase their ability to positively contribute to society.
Of the approximately 28,000 clients who were referred to a lawyer in 2016/2017, 46 percent had less than a high school education, 30 percent were Aboriginal, and 31 percent were women.
LSS’s stakeholders, in addition to the Ministry of Justice and our clients, include our non-government funders the Law Foundation and the Notary Foundation, our local agents and our community partners, the lawyers who deliver legal aid services and the organizations that represent them, such as the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch) and the Trial Lawyers Association of BC, and the judiciary. Other important stakeholders include public legal education and information service providers, social service agencies, community agencies, and advocates that provide support to our clients.