Family Law Access Centre
The Family Law Access Centre (FLAC) is a pilot project offered by the Law Society of Manitoba to assist middle income families afford legal services with respect to family law matters.
A person is eligible for assistance from this project if he or she has an income above the Legal Aid guidelines but within the FLAC guidelines, which are as follows:
Family Size Gross Income
6 or more $60,000
Application and Contract
A person seeking assistance through FLAC is required to complete an application form. If the application is approved, the person will be eligible to sign a contract with FLAC. The contract provides that the person will make a monthly payment to FLAC for a set period of time. The payments will cover the cost of the legal fees and disbursements relating to his or her family law matter, at a rate that is significantly lower than the usual amount of legal fees.
Selecting a Lawyer
A person whose application is accepted will select a lawyer from a list of lawyers who have volunteered to be part of the FLAC program, but no lawyer is required to accept a particular case. If a lawyer takes a case through FLAC, the usual lawyer-client relationship exists. FLAC will not instruct the lawyer or be involved in any decision-making, but the lawyer is expected to disclose to FLAC any significant change in the client's financial circumstances. The client agrees to this disclosure in the contract that he or she is required to sign.
The Advantage of FLAC to a Client
A lawyer obtained through FLAC is paid by FLAC at a rate that is less than usual. A lawyer with less than five years at the Bar is paid $100.00 an hour. A lawyer with five to 10 years at the Bar is paid $130.00 an hour. A lawyer with more than 10 years at the Bar is paid $160.00 an hour. Since the client is paying for the legal services, though at a lower rate, he or she has the right to contest any fee or disbursement.
Participants in this initiative are expected to work cooperatively with their lawyer and to give him or her reasonable instructions, just as you would in an ordinary lawyer-client relationship.
You are also expected to make your monthly payments on time. Because we won’t know how much the case will cost until it is over, you may need to keep paying even after the case is over.
What Happens if I Don’t Pay?
If you don’t pay as agreed then we will cancel your coverage immediately. The lawyer may then withdraw from your case. We will also take steps to collect the money you owe us, including attaching property, and garnishing wages and bank accounts. Once you have breached your obligation you will not be eligible for help in the future if you need it.
If you are having trouble paying do not stop payments. Contact the FLAC Administrator and we will work with you to resolve the problem.
Remember FLAC is a pilot project to help people who need it. In order for the program to keep going and help others we need you to do your part.
For further information please contact Debbie Rossol, Administrator of the Family Law Access Centre at (204) 926-2048 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org