Getting legal help
Preparing for court
Court processes can be confusing, so itís a good idea to plan ahead and be prepared for your court date. If you donít have a lawyer, duty counsel, family law advice lawyers, and the Family Law Information Program can give you information before you need to appear in court.
Do you need to get ready for your first court appearance?
People appearing in court without a lawyer can receive immediate legal assistance from duty counsel. Visit duty counsel on your court date, before your court appearance. Try to come at least 30 minutes before court starts if you want to speak with duty counsel, and remember to bring all documents relating to your case.
Find out more about Legal Aid Ontarioís duty counsel services.
How do I find a lawyer?
There are several ways that you can find a lawyer:
- recommendations from family or friends
- visit the other resources section for more information
- the Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) can give the name of a lawyer who will provide a consultation of up to 30 minutes to help you determine your rights and options.
What should you know about working with a lawyer?
Legal Aid Ontario has some general tips on working with your lawyer.
Are you a victim or witness to a crime? Have you been called as a witness or do you need to testify in court?
The Ministry of Attorney General's website has some information about what happens in a courtroom if you are asked to be there. The Ontario Victimís Secretariat and the Victim Support Line also provide information on counseling and support for victims or witnesses of crime.
Visit the Courtprep website if you are a youth who has a court date.
LawFacts.ca: Free online legal information resource
If you're going to criminal court for the first time or have a loved-one who has been arrested, visit our sister site, LawFacts.ca to find practical legal information and answers to questions about going to court.
The Ministry of the Attorney General's website has many resources to help you prepare for court. Find information on subpoenas and summons, what to expect in a criminal courtroom, and family law issues such as divorce, separation, and child custody and access issues.