1.1 Before you start

This online guide explains how to appeal a conviction for an indictable offence on your own.

Before you go ahead with your appeal, it’s a good idea to find out whether you can get legal aid through the Legal Services Society (LSS). If you are in custody, you can apply for legal aid funding for your appeal by calling a prisoners-only line at 1-888-839-8889 (call no charge). Or you can call the LSS Appeals Section collect at 604-601-6085. You can also write to:

Appeals Section
Legal Services Society
400 – 510 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 3A8
Fax: 604-682-0956

If you’ve been refused legal aid, you can apply for a review of that refusal. The representative who refused your application will provide you with a form that indicates if a review is available. If so, your request for review must:

  1. be in writing;
  2. set out why you disagree with the decision; and
  3. include copies of your supporting documents.

You must apply for a review within 30 days from the refusal decision. Mail or fax your request to:

Provincial Supervisor, Legal Aid Applications
425 - 510 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 3A8
Fax: 604-682-0787

If you are not in custody, go to the legal aid office nearest you. It’s a good idea to call before you go. Phone the LSS Call Centre at 604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver) or 1-866-577-2525 (no charge, elsewhere in BC), or go to the LSS website.

While there is no guarantee of finding a volunteer, you can try to obtain pro bono (free) legal assistance with your appeal.

If you want to try to find a private lawyer to take your case, try the Lawyer Referral Service. It will give you the name of a lawyer who you can call for a half-hour appointment for $25 plus taxes. If you decide you want to hire him or her, remember to ask them how much you can expect to pay.

If you’ve been refused legal aid and do not have enough money to hire a lawyer, you may be able to get a court-appointed lawyer.