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Common Questions

Can I get a court-appointed lawyer for my criminal case?
Last reviewed in April 2023 by the Clicklaw Editors

You can ask a judge to appoint a lawyer for you if you have been denied legal aid, cannot afford a lawyer, and face a serious and complex criminal charge. 

Good starting points include:
If you are a youth that has been charged with a crime, the Government of BC has a page on Right to Leave that has information on how lawyers can help protect your rights. 

Need more help?

  • Even if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer to represent you and you are not eligible for getting legal aid, you may want to seek advice from a pro bono lawyer. Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.
  • Duty counsel are lawyers who can give you free brief advice before your trial. They are available at courthouses throughout the province. Call Legal Aid BC Call Centre or your local court registry to find out about duty counsel hours in your area.
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from Access Pro Bono,offers a free, brief initial consultation with a lawyer to determine your legal needs. If you would like further help from your lawyer, you can retain them at an agreeable rate of charge.

See our related common questions:

court-appointed lawyer, appeal, charged with a crime, crimes & offences, legal help