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Commission/ Declaration of services to the public

Declaration of services to the public Commission des services juridiques and the community legal centres


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MISSION OF THE ORGANIZATION

The Commission des services juridiques sees to it that legal aid is provided to persons who are financially eligible for such services.

The Commission is composed of 12 members appointed by the goverment and selected on the basis of their contribution to the study and resolution of the legal problems of the underprivileged.

The 11 community legal centres provide legal aid services throughout Quebec.

These centres are established by the Commission des services juridiques. Each of them has a board of directors consisting of 12 members appointed by the Commission.


OUR SERVICES

Legal aid services

Legal aid services covered by the system are provided, either free of charge or upon payment of a contribution, to persons who are financially eligible. The contribution, which is determined by regulation, is always collected by the community legal centre that issued the certificate of eligibility.

A) Principal areas of practice:
Family law, youth law (youth protection and young offenders), criminal and penal law, administrative law, mental health law, social law, civil law and immigration law.

B) Legal aid services provided:

Representation by a lawyer before a court of first instance or a court of appeal, as plaintiff or defendant;

Assistance from a lawyer in certain cases expressly provided for in An Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services;

Legal consultation with a lawyer;

Telephone consultation with a lawyer, available around the clock, if you have been arrested or are being held in custody;

Appearance by telephone on weekends and legal holidays in criminal law matters;

Legal information regarding the rights and obligations of legal aid recipients;

Involvement of lawyers in community organizations;

Services rendered by a notary.

C) How to access our services:

Call to obtain an appointment within a reasonable delay;

You can be received with or without an appointment, usually at the legal aid office closest to your place of residence;

In an emergency, a lawyer can assist you in taking measures to preserve your rights.

Homologation Assistance Service

The Homologation Assistance Service is intended for parties residing in Quebec who have agreed, for whatever reason, to modify arrangements pertaining to child custody or access rights or support involving a child or spouse (or former spouse), where the parties have previously obtained a judgment with respect to child support alone or child and spousal support.

The parties must choose a lawyer (either a lawyer who is a legal aid staff member or a lawyer in private practice) to draft their joint application for the homologation of their agreement. The agreement is then mailed to the office of the court. The agreement is subsequently homologated by the special clerk and, as a result, becomes a judgment of the Superior Court and is then executory.

This service is available to everyone, whether or not they are financially eligible for legal aid (since it is offered at minimal cost to those who are not financially eligible).

Other legal services

A) Mega-trials:

The Commission des services juridiques sees to it that legal services are provided to individuals accused in a penal or criminal proceeding and who, pursuant to a court order, are entitled to the services of a State-remunerated lawyer in order to ensure their constitutional right to a fair trial.

The situation may involve a penal or criminal case that is long and complex due to the anticipated duration of the trial, the number of accused persons, the number and type of charges, the nature of the evidence, the anticipated duration of the hearing on declared or anticipated preliminary motions, as mentioned in the minutes of the pre-hearing conference or indicated in the court record, or due to the duration of the investigation that led to the filing of the charges.

B) Court orders:

The Commission des services juridiques sees to it that the services of a lawyer are offered if a court order concerning the designation of counsel has been made under a provision of the Criminal Code, in particular under section 486.3 or 672.24, subsections 8 to 8.2 of section 672.5, section 684 or section 694.1 of the Criminal Code.

C) Service administratif de rajustement des pensions alimentaires pour enfants [ child support recalculation service ] :

This administrative service, which is provided exclusively through the Commission des services juridiques, allows parents to obtain the recalculation of support for their minor child that has previously been determined by a court judgment. The application can be submitted by both parents or by one of them alone. The eligibility criteria are prescribed under An Act to promote access to justice through the establishment of the Service administratif de rajustement des pensions alimentaires pour enfants and the regulation respecting the application of that act.


OUR COMMITMENT

A) Accessibility of our services

1. Bureaux

Legal aid services are offered throughout Quebec in over one hundred and ten (110) legal aid bureaus spread out over ninety-six (96) cities. Your request for legal aid will generally be handled at the legal aid bureau closest to your place of residence.

The physical layout of the legal aid bureaus has been designed to ensure the confidentiality of your dealings with our staff. Lawyers have access to private offices.


2. Business hours

Each legal aid offices posts its business hours.


3. Telephone access

We will answer you promptly and courteously, identify our organization and offer a word of welcome.

If you leave your name, telephone number and the name of the person to whom you wish to speak, we will call you back promptly.


4. Waiting time and appointments

i. We will determine the urgency of the services required and will give you an appointement in a timely manner.

ii. We will inform you of the principal documents you should provide to establish your eligibility for legal aid.


5. Advertising our services

We advertise our legal services to the general public and, in particular, to our target population :

i. By publishing and disseminating onthe website of the Commission and of the community legal centres that have a website, the list of legal aid bureaus and their full contact information;

ii. By disseminating information describing our services, the rules of eligibility and the rights and obligations of legal aid applicants;

iii. By ensuring that posters advertising the on-call telephone emergency legal aid service are posted in police stations;

iv. By publicizing legal aid services to agencies and govermental departments that serve our clientele;

v. By updating the legal information contained on the website of the Commission des services juridiques and the websites of the community legal centre.

6. Access by detainees

If you are being held in custody, you may request and obtain the services of a legal aid lawyer from your place of detention.


B) The manner in which our services are provided

1. Welcome

Generally, you will be welcomed on the day and at the time set for your legal aid appointment and, if applicable, you will meet with a lawyer.


2. Confidentiality

From the very first moment you deal with a legal aid employee, all your communications and dealings with the employee are covered by professionnal secrecy and are confidential.


C) The quality of our services

1. Availability and diligence

In the practice of his profession, a lawyer must display reasonable availability and diligence.

A lawyer from a legal aid bureau must be present in court when necessary and, if applicable, may meet there with you.

Staff members undertake to perfom the work entrusted to them within satisfactory time limits.

Support staff membres are, by their terms of employment, available to answer your requests at all times and provide you with relevant information.


2. Necessary cooperation

We require your cooperation in order to fulfill our commitment to provide you with quality services in a timely manner. It is important that you provide us with all the information and documents needed to process your application and handle your case. These documents are listed under How do I apply? in the « Legal Aid » section of the website of the Commission des services juridiques.


AN EFFICIENT SYSTEM FOR HANDLING COMPLAINTS

If you are not satisfied with the services offered by staff of the Commission des services juridiques or a legal aid office, you may file a complaint which will be processed within thirty days.

Complaints supply us with information allowing us to improve the services we provide to the public. Complaints may relate to any matter, including the accessibility of legal aid services, the manner in which the services are provided and the quality of the services. They are received and handled in a confidential manner.

For a legal aid office:

We suggest that you first submit your complaint to the director of the legal aid bureau or to the person in charge of the bureau. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you must submit it in writing to the Director general of the Community Legal Centre in question. The contact information for the Directors general of the legal aid network is available on the website of the Commission, under Contact Us. A form for this purpose is available in the legal aid offices.

For the Commission des services juridiques:

We suggest that you first submit your complaint to the director of the department concerned. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can submit it in writing to the Chairman of the Commission. 

Complaint form


IMPROVING SERVICES

The Commission des services juridiques and the Community Legal Centres seek to continuously improve the quality of their services. To this end, they may consult you in order to better understand your needs and expectations. The results of such consultations are published in the management report submitted annually to the Minister of Justice and filed on the website of the Commission under Publications in the section entitled « Commission ».


Adopted on December 9, 2010 and amended on October 28, 2015 and on July 18, 2017 

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© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017