Legal aid is a government legal service offered to people who meet certain financial eligibility criteria and apply for the service. Legal aid is provided free of charge or with a contribution from the recipient. Every year, legal aid provides thousands of Québecers with access to justice and the means to defend their rights. Legal aid services are provided by lawyers and, on occasion, by notaries. Lawyers are responsible for counselling their clients and representing them before the courts. Depending on the client’s preference, these services are provided either by lawyers who are permanent employees of the legal aid network or by lawyers in private practice.