I Need Legal Help

Do I Qualify?

To qualify for our services, you must meet both of the following requirements:

1) Meet the financial eligibility requirements set by Legal Aid Ontario, or be a Fanshawe College or Western University student; and

2) Have a legal issue in the London/Middlesex jurisdiction and the issue must be an area of law covered by our clinic.

Criminal Law

We represent people who have been charged with certain criminal, provincial, and municipal offences. The offence(s) must be before a court located in London, Ontario. We do not provide representation on matters heard outside of London.

Criminal Offences

We represent people charged with most summary conviction Criminal Code and Controlled Substances Act offences. A summary conviction offence is one where the maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine and/or a term of imprisonment of 6 months. We are not able to represent those charged with what is commonly called a “super” summary conviction offence (the maximum penalty is greater than regular summary conviction offences). Please see the list below of the most common “super” summary offences. We are also not able to represent those charged with an indictable offence.

Provincial Offences

We represent people charged with certain provincial offences. These offences are usually under the Highway Traffic Act, Trespass to Property Act, and the Liquor Licence Act. Because of the high demand for our service we can only provide representation on the most serious provincial offences.

Municipal Offences

We represent people charged with municipal offences, which are offences typically under a City of London By-Law. Because of the high demand for our service, we can only provide representation on the most serious municipal offences.


Note: The chart below lists some common "super" summary charges for which we cannot provide representation. For a full list of charges that we CAN appear on, please refer to: https://lso.ca/about-lso/legislation-rules/permitted-criminal-code-summary-conviction-offence#list-of-permitted-criminal-code-summary-conviction-offences-for-regulated-agents-as-of-sept-19-201-5

Criminal Code Section Offence
s. 95 Possession of prohibited or restricted firearm
s. 151 Sexual interference
s. 152 Invitation to sexual touching
s. 153 Sexual exploitation
s. 253 (1)(a)(b) Impaired driving, over .08, fair or refusal to provide breathalyzer
s. 264.1 (1)(a) Uttering death threats or threaten bodily harm
s. 267 Assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm
s. 271 Sexual assault
s. 279 (2) Forcible confinement
s. 733.1 Failure to comply with a probation order

Housing / Landlord and Tenant

CLS represents tenants (under the Residential Tenancies Act) in matters such as:

  • Rent disputes or unpaid rent
  • Non-repair by a landlord
  • Harassment or improper entry by a landlord
  • Any other disputes between residential tenants and landlords.

Hearings for these disputes are held either in the Landlord and Tenant Board or in the Small Claims Court.

If you have an appointment at CLS, please bring with you the following:

  • Any notices or letters from your landlord
  • A copy of your lease (if available)
  • Photos of areas needing repair
  • Any other relevant documents.

Small Claims Court

Community Legal Services handles lawsuits up to the maximum limit in Small Claims Court of $35,000.00. We are unable to assist with lawsuits higher than $35,000.00, which must be brought in the Superior Court. We are also unable to assist with lawsuits outside London.

Here are a few examples of the kinds of cases we take to Small Claims Court:

  • Purchase of defective cars
  • Improper repairs to houses or cars
  • Defending claims from creditors
  • Collecting unpaid loans
  • Contracts made with door-to-door sales representatives

Our student caseworkers will draft court documents, argue motions, appear with you at the settlement conference, and handle the trial. Most court cases settle before trial.

When you come for your first appointment, please bring all documents and photos with you, as it will help us assess the strength of your case. If there is visible damage to something (or someone), take photos and bring the photos with you.

It is also helpful if you could provide the names and contact information of any potential witnesses. We may need to speak with them.

If you receive a settlement or a judgment in your favour, it does not necessarily mean you will be paid. We can take steps on your behalf to collect the amount owing through garnishment of wages or bank accounts or the seizure of other assets.

Going from start to finish in Small Claims Court will take some time. It will usually take at minimum 6-9 months, and could take over a year.

Family Law

The objectives of our family law services are:

  • To assist you to identify your family law issues and to determine the most appropriate course of action for resolution;
  • To improve access to justice in family law disputes for persons in the London community;
  • To assist and advocate for you to resolve your family law matters in accordance with the primary objective of the Family Law Rules: ensuring efficiency, due process, and dealing with the case in ways that are responsive to the matter’s importance and complexity.

Scope of Family Law Services

  • Decision-Making/Parenting Time/Contract
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Limited number of “supplemental” family law issues which may emerge in the context of any of the above issues (e.g., divorce; restraining order, contempt, etc.)
  • Assistance to "kin" claimants (e.g. grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc.) in child protection proceedings
  • Child protection proceedings
  • Uncontested divorces

Services NOT available at Community Legal Services/Family Law

  • Equalization/division of family property upon separation
  • Adoptions
  • Marriage annulments
  • Appeals of family law decisions
  • Contested divorces

Eligibility for Services

  • You must meet our financial eligibility requirements
  • In most circumstances, we cannot accept clients who would otherwise qualify for, or already hold, a Legal Aid Certificate
  • If you are either commencing court proceedings or are involved in ongoing court proceedings, the matter must be in the jurisdiction of the Superior Court of Justice, Family Division, in London
  • Priority is given to referrals received from the Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) or Family Law Duty Counsel located at the London Courthouse

First Appointment:

If you are scheduled for a first/intake appointment with our office, please ensure that you bring the following documents with you for that appointment:

  • Copy of any prior Orders made by the court relating to your family/children;
  • Copies of any court documents relating to your current family law proceeding;
  • Your income tax returns for the last three years;
  • A copy of your most recent pay stub or Social Assistant Benefit statement
  • Any other relevant/important document identified in your initial telephone call with CLS

Student Appeals

CLS handles appeals for Western and Fanshawe College students for academic appeals (failing grade or program withdrawal) or misconduct offences (plagiarism or other academic or personal misconduct).

We are able to represent students only at the final level of appeal. At Western, the final level is the Senate Review Board Academic (SRBA). At Fanshawe, it is the second level appeal.

Both final levels of appeal are in the form of a hearing with witnesses giving evidence.

If you have a legal matter that CLS can assist with, please call 519-661-3352 to inquire about your eligibility and to make an appointment, or for family law matters, or criminal law matters, you can complete the application online by following the below link.

This is not an emergency service. We will respond as soon as possible (within 5 business days, not including weekends and holidays).

Completing this form does not make you a client of the clinic. We will need to review your case and a student lawyer will conduct an intake interview to figure out whether we may be able to help.

Please note that CLS does not accept new clients between semesters or during exams which occur:

  • Early December – Mid-January
  • Mid-April – Mid-May
  • Late August –Late September.