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General legal information and services
The British Columbia Law Institute cannot offer legal advice or make referrals. However, a number of resources are available for BC residents seeking legal advice or information.
- If you wish to make a complaint about a lawyer or have questions about the legal profession, please contact the Law Society of British Columbia.
- If you wish to find a lawyer, please use the Lawyer directory provided by the Law Society of British Columbia. The Lawyer Referral Service program will connect you with a lawyer that practices in your area. Call 604-687-3221 or 1-800-663-1919 | Mon – Fri, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Access Pro Bono’s Lawyer Referral Service helps British Columbians of any income to find a suitable lawyer to serve their legal needs. Any member of the public may call the Lawyer Referral Service to obtain the contact information of a lawyer who will meet for a free half-hour legal consultation.
- The People’s Law School Dial-A-Law features “starting point” information on the law in British Columbia in over 130 topic areas. The information is available online, as audio recordings, and on the telephone at 1-800-565-5297 (604-687-4680 in the Lower Mainland).
- The website Clicklaw is a free hub for legal information in British Columbia. Users can explore resources, read the answers to common questions, and connect with service providers across the province.
- The Legal Services Society offers government-funded legal services – including both legal advice and representation – to those that qualify, in addition to access to free publications and other resources. It also offers specific services focused on family law and Aboriginal legal aid.
- Access Pro Bono BC provides pro bono legal services for individuals and non-profit organizations of limited means. Their programs cover various subjects and range from summary legal advice clinics to full legal representation services.
- Seniors First BC offers legal services to people age 55 and over who are unable to access legal help elsewhere due to low income or other barriers. You will also find additional resources in their links directory. Its Seniors Abuse and Information Line is a toll-free telephone line staffed 7 days a week (excluding holidays) from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Call 604-437-1940 / Toll-Free: 1-866-437-1940
- Law Students Legal Advice Program (LSLAP) connects clients with students from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC who, supervised by lawyers, provide legal advice and representation to those who cannot afford it. Please call 604-822-5791 to schedule an appointment.
- Rise Women’s Legal Centre offers women legal services in family law, child protection law, and wills drafting with the help of students from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC.
- TRU Community Legal Clinic connects legal students with British Columbians in search of legal aid.
- Community Legal Assistance Society runs numerous programs to provide disadvantaged British Columbians with legal aid. They specialize in housing, income security, workers’ rights, mental health and human rights law.
- The Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia operates under provincial law to protect the legal rights and financial interests of children, to provide assistance to adults who need support for financial and personal decision making, and to administer the estates of deceased and missing persons where there is no one else able to do so. Contact the PGT through their website or at (604) 660-4444.
- Have a tenancy issue? The Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre provides residential tenants with information, education, and support relevant to their needs.
- The People’s Law School offers free classes for the public at locations throughout British Columbia on the legal issues of everyday living. They also provide basic information to help people answer common legal questions.
- bc211 is a nonprofit organization that provides free information and referrals regarding community, government, and social services in BC. Their helpline services include 211, the Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service (ADIRS), the Problem Gambling Help Line, VictimLink BC, and the Youth Against Violence Line.
- Have a strata issue? The Civil Resolution Tribunal is an online tribunal that allows Canadians to resolve small claims disputes (under $5000) and strata property (condominium) disputes of any amount. They also host resources on that subject.
- Want to learn more about strata housing? The Province of British Columbia hosts advice and practical information that might be of use.
- Strata owners looking for additional information can also reach out to the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC. Residents of Vancouver Island can also consult the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association.
- Looking for a lawyer in other provinces? Lawyer Referral Services are available in the following locations:
- Alberta: Lawyer Referral
- Saskatchewan: No referral program available; the public is encouraged to use the Find a Lawyer feature on the Law Society of Saskatchewan website.
- Manitoba: Law Phone-In & Lawyer Referral Program
- Ontario: Law Society Referral Service
- Quebec: Referral Service of the Bar of Montreal; a list of additional referral services in Quebec
- Nova Scotia: Legal Info Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick: No referral program available
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Lawyer Referral Service
- Prince Edward Island: Lawyer Referral Service
- Yukon: Lawyer Referral Service
- Northwest Territories: Find a Lawyer – Areas of Practice
- Nunavut: Lawyer Referrals
Services for Seniors Across Canada
- The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly provides legal services for eligible low-income seniors in the Greater Toronto Area. To make an appointment, call 416-598-2656.
- In Kingston the Queen’s University Elder Law Clinic is a non-profit student run program offering legal advice to older adults in Kingston who cannot afford a lawyer. To book an appointment, call 613-533-2950.