Due to COVID-19 (the coronavirus), we regret that we can no longer provide in-person legal aid services. However, we remain committed to helping people with their legal problems while also doing our part to prevent the spread of the virus by offering phone and video services.
Legal aid services have been adjusted as follows:
- Applications for legal aid are by phone only. The Call Centre can be reached at 604-408-2172 or 1-866-577-2525. Or, to find contact numbers for the local agent in your community, see Service locations.
- Family duty counsel and family advice lawyers will provide phone-only services and will no longer be available in courthouses and Family Justice Centres. For contact information, see Family Duty Counsel by Location.
- Clients who need help with criminal law matters should contact our Provincial Call Centre or the local agent in their community. People who qualify for assistance from a lawyer on an on-going basis will be referred to a lawyer. People who do not qualify for ongoing assistance but need help with their case before they return to court can arrange for a lawyer to speak with them on the phone.
- Clients who are in custody will be assisted by duty counsel. They will be conducting bail hearings by telephone and video.
- Only "urgent" (as defined by a judge) family and child protection cases are going ahead in court. If someone has a lawyer, their lawyer will tell them what work can done until the courts resume normal operations. If someone doesn't have a lawyer, they can still apply for legal aid during this time.
- Parents Legal Centres for child protection issues are providing phone-only services. See Service locations for contact information.
- Our community partners (agencies that provide legal aid information around the province) will also only provide assistance by phone only. See Service locations for contact information.
We also encourage everyone to take advantage of our online services: Family Law in BC (includes LiveHelp, a chat service to help you find information on the site), MyLawBC (provides free online mediation for preparing a parenting plan), and Aboriginal Legal Aid BC, as well as our Family LawLINE, a free telephone advice service.
We are continuing to monitor the public health crisis and will provide updates regarding any further changes to legal aid services.