Legal information found on this website is provided by the Law Society for general information purposes. It should not be considered as legal advice. For proper legal advice and assistance, please consult a lawyer.
LEGAL SERVICES, RESOURCES AND PROGRAMS AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC
Here is a listing of legal services, resources and programs available to members of the public in the NWT.
FAMILY LAW, DIVORCES & CHILD CUSTODY
FAMILY LAW IN THE NWT
The NWT Justice Department has published a Family Law Manual that reviews your rights and responsibilities within a family setting. The book provides an overview on Separation and Divorce, Child Custody, Child Abuse and Family Violence, as well as more information on such things as Adoption and the role of Lawyers within family law.
To download a PDF version of Family Law in the NWT, Click Here.
CHILD CUSTODY AND ACCESS
For information on child custody and access in the NWT, please see the Department of Justice Website here.
For information related to child support, please see the Department of Justice Website here.
FAMILY MEDIATION PROGRAM
Mediation is an alternative to court. It offers a cooperative approach to solving legal problems. The Family Mediation program is a free service that can help people who are separating or divorcing to agree about:
- where their children will live
- how they will continue to be good parents
- financial support
- property division
For information on the Family Mediation Program, which offers up to nine hours of free legal advice, please click here.
To talk privately about how a mediator can help you, call 1-866-217-8923. Translation is available in your language.
LEGAL AID COMMISSION
The Legal Aid Commission of the NWT, also known as Legal Aid, provides legal services for those who cannot otherwise afford a lawyer.
FREE LEGAL ADVICE
Free legal advice is now available through the Outreach Legal Aid Clinic. Walk-ins are welcome according to this calendar. Individual appointments can be made by calling 1-867-767-9384 or toll free at 844-497-1319. The Legal Aid Commission Outreach Clinic is located on the 3rd floor of YK Centre East (Suite 305, 4915 48th Street), in Yellowknife. Service disponible en Francais.
WHAT IS POVERTY LAW?
Poverty law deals with issues aimed at promoting access to justice for the poor. The term poverty law describes the broad areas of law and legal needs which arise by virtue of an individual's or a group's poverty. In general, these legal needs have traditionally included the following:
- housing law (landlord/tenant),
- income maintenance law (including employment insurance, Canada Pension Plan, social assistance, family benefits, and workers' compensation),
- work-related issues (including employment standards, and occupational health and safety), and
- and consumer and debt problems.
Poverty Law can also include family law, child welfare and human rights.
SMALL CLAIMS COURT
The Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories has jurisdiction to hear civil cases where the monetary amount in dispute does not exceed $35,000. It provides a convenient and inexpensive forum and procedures are more informal, faster and cheaper than in other Courts. Lawyers may appear, but the parties may and often do represent themselves. Unless exceptional circumstances exist, Judicial Dispute Resolution must be attempted prior to setting a trial date.
Hours and contact information for Small Claims Court can be found here.
Completing Legal Documents
Many legal documents, such as affidavits and statutory declarations need to be signed before a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public.
Commissioner for Oaths
Documents to be used only in the Northwest Territories can be signed and sworn or affirmed before a Commissioner for Oaths. Commissioners for Oaths cannot certify true copies of documents.
Certain people in the NWT have been appointed as Commissioner for Oaths. In addition, these people can act as Commissioners for Oaths in the NWT:
- Member of the RCMP;
- Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff;
- Lawyer licensed to practice in the NWT;
- Notary public appointed in the NWT;
- Clerk or Deputy Clerk of the NWT Supreme Court or Territorial Court;
- Justice of the Peace in the NWT (only within their jurisdiction); and
- Judge of the NWT Supreme Court or NWT Territorial Court
The Department of Justice maintains a list of some Commissioners for Oaths in the major centers of the NWT. Documents to be filed in court can be commissioned at a court registry.
A Notary Public can perform all of the duties of a Commissioner for Oaths. In addition, a Notary Public can certify true copies of documents. Documents that are going to be used outside of the NWT must be signed and sworn or affirmed before a Notary Public.
Certain people have been appointed as Notary Public. In addition, lawyers licensed to practice in the NWT often can act as Notary Public.
The Department of Justice maintains a list of some Notary Public services in the major centers of the NWT.