Duty counsel lawyers for criminal law matters

BC First Nations Justice Council — Indigenous Justice Centres
Indigenous Justice Centres offer culturally appropriate information, advice, support, and representation for Indigenous people.

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.)

Are you Indigenous? First Nations/​Indigenous Court

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





New Hazelton

New Westminster

North Vancouver

Prince George

Williams Lake

The Provincial Court of BC website gives the dates when First Nations/​Indigenous Court sits in each location: Duncan, Kamloops, MerrittNew HazeltonNew WestminsterNorth Vancouver, Prince George, and Williams Lake.

If you identify as Indigenous, ask your lawyer about having Gladue principles applied to your case and what’s best for you. For more information, contact the BC First Nations Justice Council.

Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC

Find out more about Aboriginal legal rights in BC, including First Nations Court, fishing/​hunting/​gathering, and child and family rights.