Getting legal help

Mental health duty counsel

If you are appearing in mental health court on a criminal matter without a lawyer, duty counsel can assist you at your first appearance. After the first appearance, if you cannot apply for legal aid on your own, you can receive help in one of the following ways:

  • Through a lawyer or criminal duty counsel

    Lawyers or duty counsel can request legal aid on your behalf if you are incapable of applying for it. Legal Aid Ontario will appoint a criminal lawyer with experience representing clients with mental health issues to assist you with your case.

  • With a legal aid representative or a Patient Advocate/Rights Advisor

    If you are in custody or receiving treatment at a mental health care facility, you can get assistance with legal aid applications from the Patient Advocate/Rights Advisor in the mental health facility where you are located. Correctional facilities also have legal aid representatives that can help you apply.


Patient advocate

Patient advocates act as a go-between for patients and health care providers. They can speak on behalf of patients if they are unable to communicate effectively.

Rights advisor

Rights advisors help patients understand whats happening in situations where their legal status has been changed. Rights advisors inform patients of their rights and options, help patients make applications to the Consent and Capacity Board, and obtain legal counsel if necessary.

Consent and Capacity Board

The Consent and Capacity Board (CCB) is an independent provincial tribunal. Most of the CCBs work involves a review of a person's involuntary status in a psychiatric facility under the Mental Health Act, or a review under the Health Care Consent Act of a person's capacity to consent to or refuse treatment.
Find out more.

Other resources:

For more information on mental health/capacity please refer to the links below: