Family duty counsel (family lawyers)

Family duty counsel are lawyers paid by the Legal Services Society (BC Legal Aid) to help people with low incomes deal with their family law problems. If you have a family law issue, you may qualify for help from family duty counsel in Provincial or Supreme Court even if you don't qualify for a legal aid lawyer.

In Provincial Court

Family duty counsel can help you with family law matters, including child protection issues (if the Ministry of Children and Family Development becomes involved with your family).

Duty counsel can give you advice and speak on your behalf in court on simple matters. However, they won't take on your whole case and won't represent you at a trial. They can also attend Family Case Conferences at some courts.

Duty counsel may be able to help you even if you're not financially eligible. (See Do I qualify for legal advice? on the Legal Aid website.)

Call your local Legal Aid office to find out when the service is available.

Duty counsel are available by appointment or on a walk-in basis in various locations. For more information, and a list of locations and hours, see Duty counsel lawyers for family law matters on the Legal Aid website.

In Supreme Court

If you're a person with a low income experiencing separation or divorce, you may be eligible for up to three hours of free legal advice from Supreme Court family duty counsel.

Duty counsel are lawyers who can provide advice about:

  • parenting,
  • child support,
  • property (limited),
  • tentative settlement agreements, and
  • court procedures.

Duty counsel can also:

  • assist you in Chambers if the matter is:
    • simple,
    • unopposed, or
    • by consent, and
  • attend Judicial Case Conferences at some courts.

Duty counsel may be able to help you even if you're not financially eligible. See Do I qualify for legal advice? on the Legal Aid website.

Duty counsel are available by appointment or on a drop-in basis in various locations. For more information, and a list of locations and hours, see Duty counsel lawyers for family law matters on the Legal Aid website.

Before you meet with family duty counsel

See How to prepare for a meeting with a family duty counsel lawyer and our poster about what duty counsel can and can't do for you.