Duty counsel lawyers for criminal law matters
You may be able to get help from duty counsel in Provincial Court if you:
- are charged with a crime, and
- can't get a legal aid lawyer, or
- haven't yet applied for legal aid.
Duty counsel can provide you with advice about:
- the charges against you,
- court procedures, and
- your legal rights (including the right to counsel and the right to apply for legal aid).
Duty counsel can also represent you at a bail hearing. If there's time, duty counsel can help with a guilty plea.
Who is eligible for duty counsel services?
You don't have to be financially eligible to get criminal duty counsel services. However, you must meet LSS coverage and financial eligibility requirements to receive ongoing representation.
Where to find duty counsel
Duty counsel is available at courthouses throughout the province. For duty counsel hours in your area:
- Contact your local court registry. (Click the location nearest you to find the court's address, phone number, and hours.)
- Look in the blue pages of your phone book under "Government of British Columbia — Court Services."
If you identify as Aboriginal, you may be able to have your bail or sentencing hearing in First Nations Court. Courts are located in:
238 Government Street
Duncan, BC V9L 1A5
455 Columbia Street
Kamloops, BC V2C 6K4
New Westminster Court
651 Carnarvon Street
New Westminster, BC V3M 1C9
North Vancouver Court
200 23rd Street E
North Vancouver, BC V7L 4R4
The Provincial Court of BC website gives the dates when First Nations Court sits in each location. Scroll down the courts page to find links to the dates.
If you identify as Aboriginal, you also have special rights under the Criminal Code called Gladue rights. Ask your lawyer about having Gladue applied to your case and what's best for you.