The Tulalip Office of Civil Legal Aid (TOCLA), under the jurisdiction of the Tulalip Tribal Court, provides free legal assistance to low-income tribal members with general civil legal issues including those that affect safety, family integrity, health, access to public benefits and education. Tulalip tribal members, parents of Tulalip tribal children, and native individuals living within the Tulalip community are served by TOCLA. Special exceptions may be made to allow for the representation of non-native individuals, so long as such exceptions are by TOCLA policy.
TOCLA provides culturally sensitive, holistic and competent legal representation by collaborating with other Tulalip tribal legal and social services. Collectively, they assist clients in identifying legal and non-legal needs and address barriers to accessing services. In the expansion of civil legal aid through TOCLA, tribal members gain greater access to the Tulalip judicial system.
TOCLA operates under applicable Tulalip tribal law, court rules and federal and state law specific to reservation residents. Legal representation by TOCLA occurs under the jurisdiction of the Tulalip Tribal Court. The Victim Legal Advocacy Project may also provide legal representation for eligible civil legal actions in state court.
Tulalip Office of Civil Legal Aid (TOCLA): TOCLA has one general civil legal aid attorney to represents low-income community members in general civil legal matters at the Tulalip Tribal Court. The attorney can help with a large number of civil legal issues, from family law cases, such as guardianships and dissolutions, to public benefits cases, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) appeals.
TOCLA requires that a client must be a member of a federally recognized tribe, be low-income and meet financial requirements to be eligible for legal services. Representation may be limited by the following conditions:
Victim Legal Advocacy Project (VLAP): VLAP consists of one attorney and a paralegal providing holistic legal representation for tribal members or a parent, spouse, or significant other of a tribal member and their children, or a member of another federally recognized tribe. Priority is given to those living within the Tulalip Reservation boundaries, or other individuals (on a case by case basis) who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. VLAP is a grant-funded collaboration between TOCLA and the Tulalip Tribes’ Legacy of Healing (LOH) program.
Eligibility for the Victim Legal Advocacy Project is not subject to Tulalip Tribes poverty guidelines. The measurement used for eligibility is the victim’s desire to leave the abusive relationship and maintain her safety as specified in the screening guidelines.
Tulalip Child Advocacy Project (TCAP): TCAP is a grant-funded program that consists of one full-time attorney who provides holistic, developmentally appropriate, and culturally competent advocacy to children and youth who are involved in dependency (Youth in Need of Care or beda?chelh) cases at the Tulalip Tribal Court. Children under twelve years of age are generally represented under an attorney Guardian ad Litem (GAL) model, while children over twelve years of age are generally represented according to their stated interests. Exceptions to this policy can be made by the court on a case by case basis.
Pro Se Navigator: Another grant-funded position, the pro se navigator, helps Tribal members and others. The navigator can review their filled out court paperwork for completeness, explain how to navigate the Tulalip Tribal Code and generally explain the court process and how to get a hearing date.