LSLAP Policies on Criminal Law (1:X)
A. Who LSLAP can help
LSLAP can help with many criminal matters, but there are restrictions. We can assist the following people:
- people who do not have a serious criminal record,
- when the Crown is not seeking jail time,
- people who are charged with an adult summary conviction offence or hybrid offence where the Crown is proceeding summarily,
- people who are classified as low-income, determined on a case-by-case basis,
- the case is being tried in Provincial Court (not Supreme Court of Federal Court), and
- people whose trial dates are 3 months away or longer.
It is important to note that all cases are contingent on the approval of LSLAP’s supervising lawyer. For trials, LSLAP is only able to help if the student is able to secure a volunteer supervising lawyer for the trial.
B. What we can do for our clients
1. If the client meets LSLAP requirements
LSLAP clinicians may provide assistance to clients including:
- helping the accused obtain particulars and set trial dates,
- representing an accused at trial for some summary offences with supervision, and/or speaking to sentence for such offences,
- contacting and negotiating with the Crown, in some cases, to agree in advance to a disposition favourable to the client, and
- applying for a diversion or peace bond for the client.
2. If the client does not meet LSLAP requirements
LSLAP clinicians may assist the client solely by providing the client with a referral. No advice should be given. If the client wishes to review a decision denying Legal Aid, LSLAP may be able to assist with this review (see number 4(c), below).
3. What to do if LSLAP cannot represent a client
Clients should be encouraged to find counsel as quickly as possible. If an accused must appear in court and has not yet found counsel, he or she should ask for an adjournment. It is common for the court to allow an adjournment for several weeks to permit the accused to obtain counsel after the first appearance.
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