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From our comfortable building and attractive office location at James St. close to the courthouse, Bernstein Law Group provides legal services for all kinds of criminal charges. We also practice in the area of mental health law.

Our founding lawyer has over 30 years of practice, as well as a great deal of experience mentoring other lawyers. Stephen devotes his life to his clients. He is often found at the office after hours and on weekends, particularly for clients experiencing emergencies such as bail hearings.

We often take on serious and controversial cases, treat each client with dignity and respect, and pursue defenses creatively and diligently. We understand that for our clients, this is a frightening, confusing process and that everything is at stake for them.

Our office offers free consultations, and we accept Legal Aid.

Criminal & Personal Injury Lawyers | Bernstein Law Group Hamilton, ON


Hamilton, ON Defense & Legal Aid Lawyers | Bernstein Law Group

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Top-rated Criminal Defense Lawyers in Hamilton, ON | Bernstein Law Group

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Personal Injury Lawyers Hamilton | Top-Rated Accident Lawyers | Bernstein Law Group

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Bernstein Law Group | Robert Bernstein & Stephen Bernstein
250 James St S,
Hamilton, ON L8P 3B3
(905) 546-1990

Giving Legal Advice


An adviser’s handbook

Second Edition

By Elaine Heslop

Legal Action Group

ISBN: 978 1 908407 43 6


An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

The Legal Action Group (LAG) — the access to justice charity — has just published another indispensable reference book which litigants and their advisers, not to mention lawyers, will love — especially those with clients who can’t quite meet the costs involved in going to law.

‘Giving Legal Advice’ is the plain-speaking title of this plain-speaking work of reference now in a new second edition.

Its publication is particularly timely in view of the widespread decrease in legal aid and the corresponding increase in litigants in person — litigants appearing unrepresented in court, that is — and not necessarily knowing much about what to do, or how to do it.

‘This second edition,’ explains the author Elaine Heslop, ‘aims to provide support and guidance to those ‘who continue to engage in the vital function of advice provision in order to give as many individuals as possible access to justice.’

The content of this new edition, therefore has been considerably revised and updated — and illustrative examples have been given whenever the law is referred to, especially in the areas of social welfare law, including small claims in the civil courts.

A quick trawl through the very useful table of contents will indicate that just about every conceivable issue or matter faced by litigants has been covered and explained in a succinct, yet detailed manner, from the court structure itself, to advice skills, to further advice specific to the litigant in person.

It should be emphasized that this is a particularly handy book for those who have never been to court before. Helpful documents and flow charts throughout aid navigation — and besides the listing of advice agencies — there is a useful index and four appendices, which include precedents, courses and training, a list of useful organisations and the exceptionally enlightening tract dated April 2013 from the Bar Council entitled ‘A Guide to Representing Yourself in Court’.

As for the courts themselves, there is plenty of advice for the unwary on dress and behaviour, plus numerous tips on the various practicalities. ‘Be ready with the case number… be prepared to put even the simplest request in writing… be firm but polite with court clerks’ and so forth. Also note that ‘courts and tribunals… are not particularly child friendly.’ You have been warned!

Suffice to say that reading this book will result in litigants and their advisers being better prepared, better informed and more confident in navigating legal processes and the legal system. As a thorough and readable guide to best practice for both advisers and clients, this book should be in every practitioner’s library.

The publication date is stated as at February 2014.
Video Rating: / 5

LAG Legal Aid Handbook 2017 to 2018



Edited by Vicky Ling and Simon Pugh
With Anthony Edwards and chapter 21 by Steve Hynes

ISBN: 978 1 90840 786 3 (book)
978 1 90840 787 0 (eBook)

The access to justice charity


An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

We have reviewed a number of editions of this excellent annual work from the Legal Action Group in the past and have no hesitation in recommending it as a prime text for all involved in legal aid matters. The aim of the two lead editors, Vicky Ling and Simon Pugh is to make the new edition “as relevant and useful to legal aid practitioners” as possible.

A number of additional contributors give the work as much variety as possible, including Solange Valdez-Symonds and Richard Charlton who cover immigration and mental health schemes. Anthony Edwards writes the crime chapters to go with his own LAG work on “Criminal Costs” whilst Katie Brown deals with housing and Steve Hynes contributes “his usual authoritative survey of the political scheme” so well.

The handbook has a supporting website which can be found at “legalaidhandbook” dot com. This popular innovation with a range of practitioner and academic titles is most welcome at a time of substantial digital change. The site can be used for updates, news alerts and other material of interest.

The title remains “an invaluable companion and essential reading for all legal aid practitioners, from caseworkers to senior partners” and, clearly, all legal aid lawyers and advisers should not be without it.

The contributors have expertly included, as a “one-stop shop”, all the information that is not currently available in one place. The Legal Action Group offers “the only single volume guide to the criminal and civil legal aid scheme” as well in short form which is readable and well laid-out for ease of reference.

The excellent Ling and Pugh and their colleagues offer us “practical, step by step guidance on conducting cases, getting paid, advocacy, financial and contract management, performance monitoring and quality standards and an overview of recent policy developments” in just over 500 pages. It’s a tool which is a practitioner’s delight because there are separate chapters on all the major areas of law covered by legal aid and sections devoted to litigators and advisers, advocates and managers.

The updated edition covers the following depending on your practice needs: full coverage of the new 2017 crime contract; latest changes and updates to the civil scheme; discussion of current case law and hot topics in legal aid practice; hints, tips and practical advice from how to manage a contract to navigating CCMS; specialist chapters on billing, crime, public family law, private family law, housing, mental health, immigration and exceptional funding; a dedicated section for advocates (particularly helpful for the Young Bar); guidance on managing legal aid work and tendering for contracts; a finally a full round up of the latest policy developments at this time of change after LASPO and before we get the promised meaningful review from the MoJ.

The 2017/2018 edition is replete with case studies, checklists and practical tips as are all LAG publications reflecting a hall mark of their house style. We get “clear and easy to follow guidance on the ever more complex legal aid” so this annual remains fundamental reading for everyone involved in legal aid from new caseworkers to experienced lawyers and managers across the legal board. It’s a book you will see in the court room… which we think is high honour indeed!

The civil legal aid scheme is as stated as at 1st April 2017, with the crime chapters covering the new criminal legal aid contracts coming into force on the same date. The handbook is available in both print and as an ebook.