Family Duty Counsel

NBLASC provides one session with duty counsel for all first appearances in the following situations:

  • All Respondents named in adult or child protection matters brought to the Court by the Minister of Social Development;
  • All Respondent matters brought before the Court by Applicants who are represented by NBLASC counsel;
  • All matters put before the Court by the Director of Support Enforcement;
  • All Applications for support made on behalf of the Minister of Social Development – Human Resources Division;
  • All matters brought before the Court on behalf of the Attorney General pursuant to the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act; and
  • All confirmation hearings initiated by an agent for the Attorney General pursuant to the Divorce Act.

NBLASC also provides duty counsel to all unrepresented parties named in a proceeding brought before the Court in the following situations. These services are available for all hearings, not just the first appearance.

  • Review hearings under Section 8(3) of the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Act;
  • Variation hearings under Section 9(1) of the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Act;
  • Hearings under Section 17(8) of the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act;
  • Variation hearings under Section 18(1) of the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act; and
  • Unrepresented Applicants in substituted service hearings under Regulation Section 10(4) of the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Act.

Because of the summary nature of Duty Counsel assistance, the function of court duty counsel is limited to the following:

  • Advising unrepresented parties about their legal rights and obligations;
  • Reviewing court documents and assisting in preparing financial statements in limited circumstances; and
  • Attending court with unrepresented parties to request adjournments; obtain consent orders; assist in uncontested hearings regarding custody, access and support where issues are not complex; assist in default and “show cause” hearings; and assist in review/variation hearings under the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Act and Regulations, and the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act.

How to Apply

Respondents can access Duty Counsel for certain family law matters right at the courthouse; however, they are encouraged to contact their local office regarding duty counsel coverage. Respondents should arrive at the courthouse 30 minutes before their scheduled court time.

There is no financial eligibility criteria and no cost to access duty counsel services.