Office of the Legal Advisor to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces
August 2010


Departmental legal services units (DLSUs) are responsible for providing client organizations with legal advice and assistance to facilitate their operations, and ensuring that their policies, programs, and operations conform to the law. The DLSUs interact with other sectors of the Department of Justice with respect to litigation that their clients may be involved in, and to obtain advice on specialized matters, such as compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A close relationship typically develops between DLSUs and their clients. DLSUs are generally located in the same building as the client’s senior management team. Most DLSU heads regularly attend their client’s departmental management committee meetings.

The DND/CF LA in the DND/CF was established in 1998 as a hybrid organization. Unlike other DLSUs, not all of the DND/CF LA’s lawyers are Department of Justice employees. Instead, the DND/CF LA is staffed by Department of Justice lawyers, CF military lawyers from the JAG, and DND civilian employees.

The costs of the Department of Justice’s DND/CF LA lawyers are covered by a TB-approved rate structure formula that applies across government to all DLSUs. All Department of Justice lawyers working in the DND/CF LA are costed according to this rate structure, whether they are classed as funded by the Department of Justice or funded by the client. This allows a total cost for all such lawyers working in each DLSU to be calculated. The DND/CF LA A-Base is then subtracted from that total cost, and the client department is billed quarterly for the difference.

The client department is also billed for services provided via the DND/CF LA by lawyers in the Department of Justice’s headquarters units, such as the Constitutional and Administrative Law Section. In addition, the client directly funds the salaries of the support staff and furnishes office materials, supplies, and accommodation.