Who Can Appeal Legal Aid Coverage Denial
Those charged with criminal offence may want to appeal legal aid denial for a variety of reasons, including:
- the outright denial of aid due to financial or legal ineligibility
- because they disagree with the terms of a contribution agreement
- because they want to object to the cancellation of their legal aid certificate
To Appeal Legal Aid:
Send a letter to appeal legal aid to the office listed on the notice, to the attention of the area committee.
- timing is important when appealing legal aid denial because the appeal committee will not consider letters of appeal received more than 15 days after the date of notice of refusal or date of cancellation
- the appellant cannot attend the hearing in person, so it is important that all information provided is clear, relevant, accurate, and in writing
- the appeal legal aid letter can be in English or French, by regular mail or fax (the website does not specify that email is an option)
- the letter must include the appellant’s name, client number, current contact information, and reasons for appeal
The area committee will then consider:
- the letter of appeal
- financial information, lawyers’ opinion letters, any available transcripts, any other supporting information submitted
- the appellant should receive written notice of the decision within 10 days
If the area committee rejects the appeal, an appellant can further appeal to the provincial appeals department in Toronto.
- the appellant must send a letter or notice of appeal with all the reasons for the appeal listed
- the director of appeals reviews the letter, as well as the findings of the area committee and comes to a decision
- the director sends the appellant written decision by mail, generally within two weeks of receiving all the information they need
There is no right to appeal a decision made by the provincial appeals department. All decisions are final.
Other Important Information
- Law Help Ontario, a privately-funded alternative to Legal Aid Ontario, does not handle criminal cases
- Clients can access LawFacts, an online resource provided by Legal Aid, for additional legal information free of charge (includes a glossary of terms and some commonly-used forms)