Q: What are “pro bono legal services”?
A: This phrase refers to improving access to justice for individuals, groups of citizens and organizations with limited financial means by providing them with legal services. The legal services are provided by lawyers and law firms free of charge.
Q: Are Pro Bono Québec’s services completely free?
A: Pro Bono Québec is responsible for approving and referring pro bono cases. The services it provides and the services of the lawyer or law firm accepting the case are free. However, there are some expenses clients must pay (e.g., court costs and experts’ fees).
Q: What is Pro Bono Québec’s role?
A: Pro Bono Québec is responsible for approving and referring pro bono cases and administering a bank of free legal hours to which lawyers and law firms contribute.
Q: Are there programs similar to Pro Bono Québec elsewhere in Canada?
A: Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan have organizations facilitating and promoting pro bono legal work.
Q: Does Pro Bono Québec compete with government legal aid program?
A: Services provided by Pro Bono Québec complement but don’t replace government legal aid program. The eligibility criteria established by Pro Bono Québec are designed to improve access to justice for people who do not qualify for Legal Aid.
Q: Are the services offered by Pro Bono Québec available everywhere in Quebec?
A: Small, medium-size, large law firms and lawyers across the province are encouraged to join Pro Bono Québec as active members and contribute to the bank of hours of free legal services. Pro Bono Québec relies on the participation of lawyers and law firms in all regions of Quebec to be able to offer its services.
Q: Are services available in English and French?
A: Yes, Pro Bono Québec offers services in both languages.
Q: Who is eligible for Pro Bono Québec’s services?
A: Pro bono legal services are available to individuals and charitable and other organizations that have legitimate claims but do not qualify for Legal Aid and do not have any other effective way to defend their rights or obtain legal advice and services.
Q: Who decides whether to accept an application for pro bono legal services?
A: The Pro Bono Approval and Referral Committee reviews applications and accepts those that meet the eligibility criteria established by Pro Bono Québec.
Q: If an application is refused, can this decision be contested?
A: No. Pro Bono Québec’s decisions are final, but each application is carefully reviewed in light of the established eligibility criteria.