Community Resource Article: Legal Resources for Those Who Cannot Afford Lawyers

By: Giselle General

This article was also submitted by the author as a contribution to the Alberta Filipino Journal (a cultural/ community newspaper in the province of Alberta, Canada) in March 2018

It is unavoidable to have some challenges in life where legal advice is needed. There are many people, for understandable reasons, that are unable to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to pay for the full services from a lawyer or law firm. Here is a list of resources that can help inform or mitigate the cost of legal services, or to know about the legal issue before hiring for help.

  1. Online Resources to Educate: It can be valuable to read these booklets or watch the videos they offer. The language in these resources are meant for those who are not lawyers, making it easy to understand. In each website their resources are sub-categorized into different areas of law.
    1. Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta: https://www.cplea.ca/publications/
    1. Native Counselling Services of Alberta: http://ncsa.ca/resources/  
  2. The Government of Alberta Website: Information about legal processes, as well as about the different levels of court are available right on the website. A few key links are below.
    1. https://www.alberta.ca/rights-justice-law.aspx
    1. https://www.alberta.ca/waive-filing-fee.aspx
  3. Legal Centres in the Area, by Independent Charities: These are non-profit organizations that provide legal help to those who are low-income in the area. Criteria may vary depending on someone’s financial situation and the area of law they need help with.
    1. Edmonton Community Legal Centre: www.eclc.ca 
    1. Calgary Legal Guidance: www.clg.ab.ca
    1. Lethbridge Legal Guidance: www.lethbridgelegalguidance.ca
    1. Medicine Hat Legal Help Centre: www.mhlhc.ca
    1. Grande Prairie Legal Guidance: www.gplg.ca
    1. Central Alberta Community Legal Clinic (Red Deer): www.communitylegalclinic.net
    1. Community Legal Clinic – Fort McMurray: www.facebook.com/communitylegalclinicFortMac/
  4. Legal Centres in the Area Ran by Law Schools: The law schools in Edmonton and Calgary also offer legal services, that are ran by law students. These services are for also for those who cannot afford legal help.
    1. Student Legal Services of Edmonton: http://www.slsedmonton.com/
    1. Student Legal Assistance Calgary: http://slacalgary.ca/
  5. Legal Aid Alberta: Legal Aid is a province-wide program that helps eligible Albertans with different areas of law such as serious criminal charges, family law, child welfare, and more. Their website is www.legalaid.ab.ca
  6. Alberta Limited Legal Services Project: For those that may be able to afford some of fees that a lawyer would charge but not the whole amount all at once, this is a service where a lawyer can be hired on a limited scope. The website is: albertalegalservices.com/

If someone is needing legal help but lives in a more remote area like a small town, it is worthwhile to contact the nearest organization geographically. There may be other services that are also available right at the courthouse as well. Hopefully this is a valuable starting point in resolving one’s legal issues while considering financial limitations.

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