Your first consultation will be with law students and, occasionally, with a volunteer lawyer. They will be taking down the facts and questions from your legal situation, and will also take a copy of the documents pertinent to your legal situation.
Except in rare cases, we will not provide you with an answer to your question the day of your first consultation.
No. The Clinic operates according to a “walk-in” basis. You do not have to call in advance to make an appointment. However, please arrive at least 30 minutes before the end of the consultation session (e.g. if the consultation session finishes at 7 PM, please arrive no later than 6:30 PM).
If you are unsure whether the Clinic can help you with your case, do not hesitate to contact us before dropping in for a first consultation.
You should bring any documents relevant to your legal situation. You will be required to declare your sources and level of income so that we can determine your eligibility for our services. We may require additional documents regarding your income.
The Clinic’s team will review your file and follow up with you by telephone or email to inform you of how we may assist you. However, we cannot guarantee our assistance, as our services depend on the expertise of the Clinic’s staff lawyers and availabilities and expertise of volunteer lawyers. We may also require additional information or documents to analyze your file.
Case follow-ups are personalized and are determined on a case–by-case basis, depending on the file and the available resources. Follow-ups might include:
- the revision of a demand letter;
- the revision of an application to the Rental Board or an application or response before the Small Claims Division;
- legal memorandum;
- case law research;
- a phone or in-person consultation with a Clinic volunteer lawyer to discuss options and receive information and/or legal advice;
- preparation for a hearing;
- referral to another community organization or governmental service.
Note that the Clinic cannot provide the same level of service and attention as a lawyer would for your file. However, we will do what we can to provide legal accompaniment within the limits of our resources.
No. The Clinic does not provide any representation. If you would like to hire a lawyer, we suggest that you contact the Montreal Bar Referral Service at 514-866-2490. The Clinic may also give lawyer referrals in certain situations.
The Clinic’s staff lawyers are generalists. In other words, we do a little bit of everything and are not specialists. We deal mainly with legal questions related to everyday life (e.g.: housing law or family law).
However, thanks to its volunteer lawyers and volunteer notary, the Clinic is able to respond to questions in a variety of areas of law, including consumer protection, civil liability, youth protection, wills and estates, civil procedure, immigration law, social assistance, employment law and penal or criminal infractions.
Note that we currently do not have any volunteer lawyers with expertise in tax law. If you are unsure as to whether the Clinic will be able to assist you in your particular file, do not hesitate to contact us.
To ensure accessibility of its services, all of the Clinic’s services are free of charge. Donations of all amounts are most welcome and enable the Clinic to continue offering its services.
The Clinic serves the Greater Montreal area and is accessible to anyone who can present themselves in person to one of its three service points for a first consultation.
However, if an individual has mobility problems, the Clinic may consider making an exception. Please contact the Clinic to discuss your situation.
Unfortunately, the service points are not wheelchair accessible, but our partner organizations are taking steps to improve accessibility.
The Clinic’s serves a clientele that is of low-income individuals who are not admissible to Legal Aid and who do not have the means to pay for private legal services.
The Clinic offers legal information, advice and accompaniment.
If your file requires more in-depth assistance, we will verify that:
- You are not covered by Legal Aid.
To verify your eligibility to Legal Aid, you must make an appointment with your local Legal Aid office. See the Commission des services juridiques for more details.
- You are unable to retain a lawyer’s services. In order to ensure that no one is unfairly excluded from our services, we evaluate each file on a case-by-case basis, based on the following criteria:
- You have a right to assert;
- Without legal assistance, there is a risk that you will suffer a real injustice ;
- You are unable to afford a lawyer or the financial strain of hiring one would pose a risk to your overall well-being.
- Your case falls within the Clinic’s mission and there is no conflict of interests with the Clinic.
As a guideline, it is rare that a person who makes an annual salary of $50,000 or more will fit in the above criteria. Please also note that unfortunately, some cases may be too complex for the Clinic to provide meaningful assistance.
If after our evaluation we conclude that you require the Clinic’s help, we will determine how we will assist you and follow-up on your file. We however cannot guarantee our assistance, as our services depend on the availability of our volunteer lawyers, as well as their respective areas of expertise. We may refuse your request without justification. We may also request further information or documentation in order to evaluate your request, including documents regarding your financial situation.
The Clinic will refuse to provide services in the following situations:
- A client is already represented by a lawyer and is looking for a second opinion;
- A client is admissible to governmental Legal Aid;
- A client does not meet the eligibility criteria;
- A client is disrespectful towards students, clients, staff or volunteer lawyers;
- A file is too complex for Clinic capacities and resources and/or we do not have volunteer lawyers with that specific area of expertise.
Although the Clinic aims, where possible, to provide assistance to individuals requiring its services, there are situations (e.g. the file is too complex or we do not have the required legal expertise), in which the Clinic will unfortunately be unable to provide a follow-up due to its limited resources. In this case, we will indicate the reasons for which we were not able to continue providing our assistance in your file.