The Most Common Ways to Pay for Criminal Defence In Canada

Getting a reliable defence counsel is the primary concern when facing a lawsuit or criminal charges. The next thing is to figure out how you will settle your legal defence fees. Mounting a legal system is complex, and navigating it can be costly. But, with a clear understanding of the crucial options available, you can pay for your criminal defence.

Ways to Pay for Criminal Defence

How do you settle criminal defence fees in Canada?

Below are your available options. Choose one that is most convenient for your financial situation.

Private retainer agreement

A retainer agreement is common, particularly in the rich, wealthy, and corporate sectors. Under the arrangement, you hire a lawyer and then pay a retainer upfront. Retainer fees cover the initial consultation, investigation, and even preparation of a defence strategy.

Your lawyer may charge hourly rates for additional services going beyond the retainer.

Legal aid services

Those are open to people who do not like to burden legal expenses. The service provides a way of acquiring the defence lawyers other than the directly solicited ones. It is funded by the Canadian government and aims at guaranteeing access to legal representation for everyone who desperately needs it, regardless of their net worth. Qualification process involves assessing assets and income against which needy clients are entitled to legal services for free.

The Public Defender Service

The court appoints a public defender to represent the individual if and only if the person cannot afford a lawyer. The service is free to the accused, but these lawyers have immense workloads, depending on the jurisdiction. They may not have the time to plan a rigorous defence for the accused.

Contingency fees

The fee is associated with class-action lawsuits or civil cases. However, certain criminal defence cases are open for contingency agreements. Here, the lawyer receives payment for legal services if he or she wins the case. The lawyer takes a percentage of the awarded damages or settlement. Nevertheless, contingency cases are rare in criminal cases because of regulatory restrictions and ethical reasons.

Payment plans

Some law firms give clients financial options or payment plans if they struggle to settle their legal fees upfront. Negotiate an arrangement that spreads the legal costs over time to make them more manageable. The payment plans include monthly installments.

Personal funds or assets

Some clients choose to settle legal fees using personal assets. Examples of personal funds include investments, liquid assets, or savings. Using personal funds offers you more control and flexibility over your defence strategy. However, it may deplete your financial resources and leave you financially unstable in the long term.

Community support and crowdfunding

Many crowdfunding platforms have come up in recent years to source funds for legal causes, criminal defence, and settling legal expenses. People facing criminal charges can turn to their friends, community, and family for financial assistance.

Crowdfunding uses online fundraising campaigns to mobilize support and public outreach. Nonetheless, only marketing efforts and networking ultimately yield the necessary financial gains.


As a defender, choose the right financing strategy for your legal defence in Canada. Carefully consider the available options and factor in your situation. If you go for private representation, then get help through legal aid.

Explore available financing methods as you weigh the benefits and costs of every approach. You can only make an informed decision by understanding how to pay for your legal fees. Call us for help securing legal representation

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