Who we are
We're the Legal Services Society. We provide legal aid in British Columbia.
It saved my life. [The lawyer] gave me some information, I used it, and everything worked out 100 percent. Within two days, I had my issues worked out — he did a really good job.”
The Legal Services Society (LSS) is a non-profit organization created by the LSS Act in 1979 to provide legal information, advice, and representation services to people with low incomes. Most people call us Legal Aid BC. Our priority is to serve the interests of people with low incomes. But many of our services are available to all British Columbians. For more about our history, here's a brief overview.
What we do
Every year we help tens of thousands of British Columbians with:
- serious family problems,
- child protection matters,
- immigration issues, and
- criminal law issues.
We do this by providing a range of services that help people resolve their legal problems. We determine the services we offer as part of our obligations under the LSS Act. Our services are offered at legal aid locations throughout the province.
LSS is committed to reconciliation and improving access to legal aid services for Indigenous people. Our Reconciliation Action Plan describes how we will move forward.
We're also committed to working with our many partners in the justice system, sharing knowledge, and improving access to justice for the disadvantaged.
Our vision, mission, and values
Our vision, mission, and values statements guide our work and reflect our commitment to an integrated legal aid model.
Our vision is client-focused legal aid that ensures access to justice for all.
Our mission is to provide the legal aid services people need, and to promote better access to justice.
- Service: we respect the people who use our services and strive to deliver services that improve their lives.
- Diversity: we reflect diverse perspectives, beliefs, and cultures in our work.
- Integrity: we make principled decisions that earn the trust of the people who use our services, our staff, and the public.
- Accountability: we spend public funds responsibly and our actions and processes are transparent.
- Leadership: we promote improvements to the justice system that benefit all British Columbians.
Our standards of conductThe LSS Standards of Conduct policy describes the conduct expected of all LSS employees, and promotes integrity, respect, confidentiality, public responsibility, cultural competence and disclosure of wrongdoing as the society’s core principles. The Standards of Conduct also assures the public that LSS employees fulfill their duties honestly and impartially. To learn more, read the Standards of Conduct.
Legal aid clients are among the province’s most vulnerable and marginalized citizens. Our clients don't have the financial resources — or frequently the educational, social, or health resources — to effectively access the justice system when their families, freedom, or safety are at risk.
We strive to engage our clients in finding solutions to their legal problems. By taking an integrated approach, legal aid services can help clients prevent future legal issues and increase their ability to positively contribute to society.
Of the approximately 28,000 clients who were referred to a lawyer in 2016/2017, 46 percent had less than a high school education, 30 percent were Aboriginal, and 31 percent were women.
LSS’s stakeholders, in addition to the Ministry of Justice and our clients, include our non-government funders the Law Foundation and the Notary Foundation, our local agents and our community partners, the lawyers who deliver legal aid services and the organizations that represent them, such as the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch) and the Trial Lawyers Association of BC, and the judiciary. Other important stakeholders include public legal education and information service providers, social service agencies, community agencies, and advocates that provide support to our clients.