How do I know if I'm eligible for legal aid?
Legal Aid Saskatchewan will provide legal advice and representation in court to people who cannot afford to pay for such services if:
- You are financially eligible.
- Your legal problem is covered by Legal Aid Saskatchewan guidelines.
- Your legal problem has professional merit, in the opinion of Legal Aid Saskatchewan.
Who is tested to find out if I am eligible financially?
Legal Aid must do a financial test for you, your spouse, common-law partner and any of your dependant children.
How do you decide if I am financially eligible?
The financial test has two parts — the asset test and the income test. Legal Aid staff determines if you have enough money/assets available to pay your lawyer without Legal Aid's help.
What is the asset test?
Legal Aid looks at all of your assets, such as cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds and RRSPs to see if you can pay for all of your legal fees. We also look at anything you can sell or easily convert into cash.
Depending on your situation, you may be expected to use some of your assets to pay for legal fees. We also look at other assets, such as houses, cars and property.
You must provide proof of your assets, such as tax returns, bank records or financial statements.
What is the income test?
Legal Aid will ask you to give information and provide proof for all of your sources of income, for your spouse, common-law partner and your dependant children.
Income includes social assistance, band assistance, employment insurance, workers compensation, employment income, maintenance payments, pensions, self-employment earnings, rental income, etc.
If you are on social assistance, or band assistance, you are usually eligible for Legal Aid, depending on your available assets.
You may be asked to prove your sources of income to Legal Aid staff through recent pay slips, social assistance, disability assistance, pension income, EI or WCB statements, tax returns, bank records or financial statements.
You may be eligible for legal aid if your net income is at or below social assistance levels. Different guidelines exist for Northern communities.
Legal Aid may be offered to an applicant whose family income exceeds the relevant guideline by 10% if the applicant makes a contribution to the cost of providing legal services. This allows someone whose income is slightly above the guidelines to acquire legal representation, provided payment of the contribution is made before meeting with the lawyer appointed.
Those applicants required to pay a contribution shall pay $40 for legal services. The full amount of $40 is due at the first meeting with the Lawyer or Legal Assistant.
For a more detailed information on the financial guidelines, including financial eligibility guidelines for applicants living north of the 54th latitude, please go to our Am I Eligible? page under I Need Legal Help.
These financial guidelines are set by the Saskatchewan Legal Aid Commission.
What type of decisions can be made?
After the financial tests are done, Legal Aid can calculate how much money you have available to pay for a lawyer. Based on our policies you may receive Legal Aid, you may be asked to pay some of the costs or you may be refused. If you receive Legal Aid, you may be asked to come back in the future to have your financial situation looked at again to make sure you still qualify.
What if I disagree with the decision?
If Legal Aid refuses you to receive legal services or asks you to pay some money towards the costs of the legal fees, you can file a complaint about the decision to the CEO within 20 days from when you were denied. The complaint form is attached to the denial.
Feedback & Complaints
To make a complaint, please do so in writing either by mail or email to:
Chief Executive Officer
Legal Aid Saskatchewan - Head Office
#502-201 21st Street East
Saskatoon, SK S7K 0B8