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 Legal Aid BC 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."

Are you Aboriginal? First Nations Court

If you identify as Aboriginal, you may be able to have your bail or sentencing hearing in First Nations Court. Courts are located in:

Duncan

Kamloops

Merritt

New Westminster

North Vancouver

Prince George

The Provincial Court of BC website gives the dates when First Nations Court sits in each location: DuncanKamloops, MerrittNew WestminsterNorth Vancouver, and Prince George.

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.

Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC

Find out more about Aboriginal legal rights in BC, including First Nations Court, Gladue rights, fishing/hunting/gathering, and your family's rights.

Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC