Since April 2015, the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Alberta (AJEFA – French-speaking Lawyer's Association of Alberta) .is operating the first Alberta Legal Information Centre / Centre albertain d’information juridique, which is providing legal information, support and referral services with regard to clients' legal questions. These services are provided in French or English, in person or remotely, free of charge and in addition to existing resources. Funded by the Department of Justice Canada, the creation of the Centre is the result of a close collaboration between francophone and anglophone stakeholders.
The following organizations provide free or low-cost legal assistance as described.
CPLEA Suggested Resources
Not sure where to begin finding answers to your questions. Get started with our suggested resources. See additional resources below for more information.
The Limited Legal Services Project is about helping lawyers provide more limited legal services to more clients, and about letting people who might not otherwise be able to hire a lawyer know that other options are available. Check out their Guide for Clients which is intended to help clients understand the legal service options available, and whether limited legal services are right for you. The site also provides a listing of Alberta lawyers participating in the Limited Legal Services Project.
The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta ) is the only association of certified translators, court interpreters, and conference interpreters in the province of Alberta. The Association was founded in 1979 and is the only member for Alberta of the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC). Through the CTTIC, the Association is affiliated with the International Federation of Translators (FIT). The primary aim of ATIA is to meet the needs of clients by ensuring, through its standards and certification procedures, that their interests are protected, and by facilitating their contacts with professional translators and interpreters.
This Guide provides a list of Indigenous organizations and services in Alberta. Also included are national and umbrella organizations with offices located elsewhere.The Guide is compiled and produced by the Ministry of Indigenous Relations in order to provide contact information for these Indigenous organizations and services .
Legal Aid Alberta provides quality, effective legal advice and representation that enables eligible Albertans to resolve their legal issues; Eligibility guidelines are on its web site. It is an independent, publicly funded, not-for-profit organization that provides a broad range of services in the following areas:
Native Counselling works to ensure that Native people receive fair and equitable treatment in the justice system. the Native Court Worker Program provides Aboriginal people with information about court procedures, their rights and responsibilities under the law, and advocacy, support and referrals to Legal Aid and other legal resources. NCSA Courtworkers are free-of-charge and can:
- go to court with you
- help you understand your legal matter and options
- help you complete and file court documents
- connect you with programs and services
- organize Restorative Conferences
The University of Calgary, Faculty of Law's Public Interest Law Clinic will provide pro bono legal services to clients, facilitating access to justice and providing law students with experiential learning opportunities. Law students will work in the clinic on precedent-setting cases affecting Alberta's vulnerable communities and the environment, allowing them to learn public interest advocacy and litigation skills. The Clinics focus is on provide access to justice for the province's vulnerable and voiceless communities, specifically in the areas of public health, human rights, equality and environmental law," Groups seeking access to justice on an issue affecting Albertans can reach the Public Interest Law Clinic by contacting Molly Naber-Sykes at (403) 220-4814 or by email for more information
This resource, Support Services for Albertans, is a comprehensive, but not exhaustive, list of organizations across the province that provide a multitude of services that compliment the support Legal Aid Alberta is able to provide. The resource mainly focuses on organizations offering legal supports to residents, but also provides information about organizations that provide social supports for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. This includes, but is not limited to, women in abusive relationships, Indigenous Albertans, youth, and the homeless.
Volunteer Lawyer Services is a pro bono legal services program that was initiated in 1995 as a joint initiative of the Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch, the Law Society of Alberta, the United Way of Calgary and Area and the Association of General Counsel of Alberta to assist registered charities and not-for-profit organizations who would otherwise not be able to receive these services due to a lack of financial resources. VLS matches charitable organizations and low income individuals with volunteer lawyers who provide pro bono legal services which they would otherwise not receive due to a lack of financial resources. The VLS program has a roster of volunteer lawyers who are advised of requests for pro bono services, according to location and area of practice. VLS then provides the organization with the volunteer's contact information and they subsequently contact the volunteer directly. The volunteer decides whether to retain the applicant as a client and the scope of that retainer.
This section of the Native Counselling Services of Alberta website contains links to various legal aid services, especially those with a focus on helping the Aboriginal community.
CLERC offers legal advice, information, referrals and services to children and youth.The Legal Topics section of their website offers answers to some common questions asked by youth regarding their legal rights. Lawyers at CLERC provide representation to young people 19 years of age and under who have nowhere else to turn for legal support.
The goal of the Court Assistance Program (Queen's Bench Amicus Program) is to improve access to justice for self-represented litigants appearing in Queen' Bench Justice and Masters Chambers. This program brings volunteer lawyers into Chambers, where they act as 'amicus curiae' and help the court understand the issues related and the positions taken by unrepresented litigants. The program offers opportunity for courtroom advocacy in a positive environment, which can give great skills-building experience for lawyers and students, and the program is beneficial for overall professional development, mentoring, networking, building collegiality, and enhancing the public image of the legal profession. This service is available in Calgary and Edmonton. Check with the courthouse for dates and times.
Duty Counsel are lawyers who assist people without a lawyer and can offer limited advice. Duty Counsel services are provided free of charge.
Probono Law Alberta provides help for individuals through their Court Based Programs.PBLA engages volunteer lawyers in programs operating out of the Calgary Court Centre and Edmonton Law Courts. Visit their website for locations and times.
Family Court Counsellors provide services, at no cost, to families who are involved in parenting disputes and are living separate and apart. The service is designed for people who are not represented by a lawyer. Services may include: Information on options and services for resolving family issues; Referrals to services and programs including mediation; Information on the effects of separation and divorce on children; Help to negotiate agreements; Assistance with court applications, arranging court dates and presenting the case in Provincial Court.
Legal Aid's Duty Counsel Program provides summary legal advice and assistance to unrepresented persons for preliminary appearances before the courts and selected tribunals is offered at no cost to the person. Duty Counsel generally plays two key service roles: the formal role as amicus (friend of the court) where Counsel offers assistance to the client in sorting through what should be ready and properly prepared before court for presentation to the judge, and the less formal role as advisor helping the client to understand what is taking place in and out of court.