Nov 28

When you apply for Legal Aid Ontario, there are certain conditions to be met to be eligible. You must qualify financially, and your charges must be deemed serious enough (i.e. facing jail time) to be approved for a legal aid certificate. If you do not qualify for Legal Aid, or you were denied a change of solicitor, you can appeal their decision. Once, you have exhausted your appeals with Legal Aid, you can bring a Rowbotham application.

What is a Rowbotham Application?

A Rowbotham application is filed with the Court to request the Court to order that you must have counsel. So, if you have been denied by Legal Aid, it is a way for the Court to force Legal Aid (or rather, the government) to appoint you a counsel to protect your right to a fair trial. Your right to a fair trial is a Charter right.

What is the Pilot Project?

The Pilot Project is a streamlined Rowbotham application. After you have exhausted your appeals with Legal Aid, and before you file your Rowbotham application, you can complete the Pilot Project. The Pilot Project allows a representative from Crown Law Civil to review your file to determine if they will approve your application without the need for a formal application and a hearing. However, not all cases qualify for this streamlined process because of its strict eligibility criteria, so you may still need to have a formal Rowbotham application filed on your behalf.

Who is eligible for a Rowbotham?

Like applying for Legal Aid, there are three eligibility criteria for a Rowbotham:

  1. You do not have the means to retain counsel;
  2. You have been denied by Legal Aid Ontario; and
  3. You being represented by counsel is essential to a fair trial.

If you establish these three criteria, you will qualify for a Rowbotham. The hearing judge would then suspend your proceedings pursuant to section 24(1) of the Charter until you are appointed a counsel.

Who does Rowbotham Applications?

Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh can assist you by bringing a Rowbotham application to ensure your fair trial rights are protected. We understand that criminal charges can have a devastating impact on anyone’s life. Rowbotham applications can be difficult, but our lawyers have successfully argued Rowbotham applications on behalf of our clients. Contact us at 416-613-0416 or at