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Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) - Criminal duty counsel

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) - Criminal duty counsel

Contact Information

Toll-free TTY
TTY (teletypewriter) – Use Bell’s Relay Service: 1 800 855 0511

During the COVID-19 situation, duty counsel services are being provided by phone. Call LAO's summary advice line at 1-800-668-8258 for more information.

Criminal duty counsel give free legal advice to people who don’t have a lawyer on the day of their hearing. Criminal duty counsel are paid for by Legal Aid Ontario and work in most courts in Ontario. If they aren't in court, they’ll have an office nearby.

Duty counsel usually can't represent you at your trial, but they may be able to:

  • help with a pre-trial meeting
  • give information and advice
  • help you find out if you qualify for a legal aid certificate

Inside the courtroom, they can:

  • give information to the court for you
  • reschedule your hearing if you appear without a lawyer
  • tell the court what's going on with your case when they reschedule it