Family duty counsel (FDC) are lawyers paid by Legal Aid BC to help people with low incomes deal with their family law issues, including child protection issues. If you have a family law issue, you might qualify for help from family duty counsel in Provincial or Supreme Court even if you don't qualify for a legal aid lawyer.
Everything you tell family duty counsel is privileged (they won't tell anyone else without your permission), so you can tell them things about your issue that you don't want to tell anyone else. And they can't work with the other person in your case once they start to work with you.
Family duty counsel can:
- help you with your family law issues, for example:
- child protection issues (if the Ministry of Children and Family Development becomes involved with your family)
- parenting issues, including parenting time
- family violence (for example, to help you get a protection order)
- child and spousal support
- help you try to sort out your family law issues outside of court
- help you prepare your court documents
- give you advice on how to prepare an urgent court application
- come with you to a family settlement conference (FSC), family management conference (FMC), or hearing
- speak for you in court if you want an adjournment (a delay), a consent order, or an emergency protection order
- become your lawyer while they’re acting as duty counsel
- give you written advice or act as your lawyer
- sign or draft an order for you
- prepare, serve, or accept other court documents for you
Duty counsel might be able to help you even if you're not financially eligible. (See Do I qualify financially for legal advice?)
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:
- child support,
- property (limited),
- tentative settlement agreements, and
- court procedures.
Duty counsel can also:
- assist you in Chambers if the matter is:
- 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
To find out more about working with family duty counsel,