Family duty counsel (family lawyers)

Because of COVID-19, family duty counsel lawyers are available only by phone at this time. Lawyers will not be at courthouses. Duty counsel will be available in advance of any court dates to provide advice and prepare clients for court. For contact information, see Duty counsel lawyers for family law matters on the Legal Aid BC website.

Family duty counsel are lawyers paid by Legal Aid BC to help people with low incomes deal with their family law problems, including child protection matters. 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.

If you want help from a family duty counsel lawyer, it’s a good idea to connect with them as early as possible.  Call your local Legal Aid BC office to find out when the service is available.

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).
  • give you advice and speak on your behalf in court on simple matters.
  • attend Family Case Conferences at some courts.

However, they won't take on your whole case and won't represent you at a trial.

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 BC website.)

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 BC website.

If you're a person with a low income going through a 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 family law 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.
  • 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 BC 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 BC website.

Before you meet with family duty counsel

See Preparing to meet with a family law lawyer and our poster about what duty counsel can and can't do for you.