How do I find a lawyer or a paralegal?
- Law Society of Upper Canada
- Pro Bono Law Ontario (PBLO) is a charitable organization that offers pro bono (free) legal services for people who need help with civil (non-family and non-criminal) matters, can't afford to hire a lawyer and don't qualify for legal aid. PBLO's Law Help Ontario website contains resources on:
- Civil litigation
- Life events
- Children and youth
- Community and cultural issues.
- Child Advocacy Project
- The Child Advocacy Project provides free legal services, in certain areas (for example school disputes), to eligible families who cannot afford a lawyer. More
- It is a free service of Pro Bono Law Ontario.
Who can help me with my civil case?
A lawyer is in the best position to advise you about your legal rights and responsibilities. Court staff cannot provide you with any legal advice. They also cannot fill out forms for you. More
What if I can't afford a lawyer?
- Legal Aid Ontario
- Legal Aid is available to low-income individuals. If you qualify, you may be entitled to a certificate from Legal Aid to help you pay the costs of a lawyer. Legal aid is available for a variety of legal problems, including criminal matters, family disputes, immigration and refugee hearings and poverty law issues such as landlord/tenant disputes, disability support and family benefits payments. More
- Frequently asked questions about legal aid.
- Pro Bono Law Ontario
- A charitable organization that promotes access to justice in Ontario by creating and promoting opportunities for lawyers to provide pro bono (free) legal services to persons of limited means. More
- Law Help Ontario
- Provides court-based, self-help centres for people representing themselves in court (self-represented litigants) who can't afford a lawyer. More
- The site includes an interactive and user-friendly system for low-income users who need help creating legal forms and understanding legal information.
- Appeals Assistance Project
- Relies on a roster of qualified volunteer lawyers who represent litigants in appeal cases. More
- Justice Net
- Justice Net is a not-for-profit service helping people in need of legal expertise, whose income is too high to access legal aid and too low to afford standard legal fees. More
Public information on legal issues is also available from:
- Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
- CLEO is a community legal clinic dedicated to providing low-income and disadvantaged people in Ontario with the legal information they need to understand and exercise their legal rights. More
- CLEONet has resources, news and events produced and submitted by community organizations and legal clinics across Ontario.
- CLEONet also offers over a thousand resources produced by organizations across Ontario on legal topics affecting low-income and disadvantaged communities.
CLEO's "Your Rights. Your Language." offers text and audio materials on eight high-need legal topics in Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin and Simplified Chinese), Somali, Spanish, Tamil and Urdu. More…
- Legal Line
- Legal Line provides free legal information to Canadians through
its website, telephone and fax-on-demand systems. 1,000 topics are covered in 35 areas of law. More
- Human Rights Legal Support Centre
- Provides legal help to people in communities across Ontario who believe they have been discriminated against, and may want to file an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. More
- Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN)
- OJEN promotes understanding, education and openness in the justice system.
Where can I find the nearest community legal clinic?
Have a complaint about your lawyer or paralegal?
Working effectively with your lawyer (video)
Going to Court
English or French is not my first language. How do I get a court interpreter?
Whether you are an accused, a surety or counsel, there are many ways to request interpretation services in Ontario's courts.
Section 14 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to the assistance of an interpreter for people who don't understand or speak English or French. The Ministry of the Attorney General's Court Services Division provides court interpretation services in:
- Any language required in criminal and child protection matters
- Any language in civil, family and Small Claims Court matters, if the litigant has been given a fee waiver certificate
- French in all civil, family and Small Claims Court matters
- Sign language in all Small Claims Court matters, and
- Any language when it is ordered by the court.
To make sure that interpretation services are available when you need them, you should ask for an interpreter as soon as you know you will need one. Requesting an interpreter ahead of time allows court staff time to make arrangements for the date and time required.
What information should I provide when requesting a freelance court interpreter?
- When requesting an interpreter, you should provide the following information
- Language of interpretation
- Who is requesting interpretation services? An accused? A surety? Counsel? (full name needed, ICON number if relevant)
- Type of appearance [e.g. bail, trial]
- Date and time interpretation is needed
- Court location
- Any other relevant information.
- If you are an accused in a criminal matter:
- Often, Duty counsel or your lawyer will ask for an interpreter during a first appearance when it is clear that interpretation services will be needed. This will be done on the court record and the court clerk will file the request and forward it to the court office.
- If Duty counsel or your lawyer does not ask for an interpreter and you know you will need one, alert the judge or justice of the peace, Duty counsel or your lawyer. This should be done on the record.
- If you are a surety in a criminal matter who:
- Requires an interpreter when appearing in court, you should ask your lawyer to request interpretation services from the court.
- If going to the courthouse to end your obligation, you should call the court office to ensure that an interpreter will be available for you.
- If you are counsel in a criminal matter:
- When possible, give court staff as much notice as possible for interpreter requests.
- Ensure the court clerk has recorded the request to forward to the court office, if you are requesting interpretation services in court.
- Phone the court office and speak to the Interpreter Coordinator or designated staff to file a request, if you are requesting services prior to a court appearance. Be prepared to give all relevant information to the assignment. You may also be required to fill out a written request.
Laws and Regulations
Want to learn more about Ontario's laws and regulations?
- e-Laws is a database of Ontario's statutes and regulations, both consolidated and source law. More
Want to learn more about Canadian laws and regulations?
- The Government of Canada's Justice Laws website is your online source for consolidated Acts and regulations of Canada. More
Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
- CanLII is a non-profit organization managed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. CanLII's goal is to make Canadian law accessible for free on the Internet. More
Looking for Court addresses?
Library of Parliament
Visit our legal glossary for a basic guide to common legal terms.
Do you have comments about this site?
Links are provided as a service and are not legal advice. For legal advice, please read more about finding a lawyer. Links marked with a globe point to external Web sites that are not maintained by the Government of Ontario. Related comments or inquiries regarding those sites should be directed to the individual organization. If you discover a broken link, please let us know.