5. Find a French lawyer or paralegal
Question & AnswerCan I have my criminal law trial in French?
The Association of French-Speaking Jurists of Ontario
The Association des juristes d’expression française (AJEFO) has a directory of French-speaking lawyers. You can search the directory by name, area of law, and city.
Law Society of Ontario Directory
The Law Society of Ontario has a Directory of all lawyers and paralegals licensed to practise law in Ontario. You can search the directory by name, area of law, city, or postal code. You can also search by whether services are offered in French.
Legal Aid Ontario
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) provides legal services to people in Ontario with very low incomes, including legal aid certificates. You must meet their financial eligibility rules and your legal issue must be one that LAO covers.
LAO also has a general legal information and advice line where anyone can get up to 20 minutes of free general legal information and advice in criminal law in French or English. Call 1-800-668-8258 during regular business hours.
Law Society Referral Service
The Law Society of Ontario has a Law Society Referral Service. This online service gives you the name of a lawyer in your area who can talk to you for up to 30 minutes for free. You can ask for a lawyer or paralegal who speaks French.
If you're unable to use the online service, you can call the Law Society of Ontario crisis line at 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255 in Toronto. For example, you can call this number if you're in a shelter or in a remote community without access to the internet. The crisis line is available from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
You don't have to hire the lawyer you get referred to. But you can't ask for a second referral for the same legal problem.
The Ontario Paralegal Association has a directory of paralegals on their website. You can search by name, keywords, area of practice, and location.
JusticeNet is a not-for-profit organization that can help people find legal services when their income is too high for legal aid and too low to afford legal fees. Their website has a list of lawyers, paralegals, and mediators who reduced fees based on your income and the size of your family. You must register and pay a small fee to use their services.