How Do I Apply For Legal Aid?
Applications for Public Funding are made by filling in a number of forms. Click here to download copies of the forms.
You have to prove that you are eligible and have a justifiable problem that needs legal representation. The solicitor dealing with your case will give you the appropriate form to fill in, if he or she feels that you maybe eligible.
You will be assessed in two ways:
- According to your means.
- According to the merits of your case.
How Long Does It Take?
Unfortunately there can be considerable delays at times in the Legal Services Commission (LSC) processing applications, particularly if your financial position is complex or if you are self-employed.
Until we have a certificate for you we are unable to carry out work under this scheme. We appreciate that this can be frustrating and worrying for you but it is something beyond our control.
You can help progress your application by bringing to your appointment with your solicitor relevant documents showing your income.
If there is an emergency we may be able to obtain an emergency certificate for you. It may be that you are receiving advice under the Legal Help Scheme and while we are within the limits imposed by that scheme we may be able to continue to undertake work for you.
Will I Have To Pay?
If your income is above a certain level you may have to contribute. The LSC assess how much income you have and your capital and if these are above certain levels it will determine whether you are eligible at all or whether you should make a contribution.
If it is decided you must pay a contribution, an "offer of Public Funding" will be made which you can accept by signing the form and making the initial payment. You must then continue to pay the contribution until either the LSC or we advise you to stop paying them.
If you fail to pay this contribution the LSC will contact us to advise us to undertake no further work. In those circumstances we can do nothing further for you until you recommence contributions or a reassessment of your means has been undertaken.
If your circumstances change then your contribution can be reassessed by the LSC. The contributions you pay will not be refunded unless your opponent is ordered to pay all your costs and he or she actually does so.
If the statutory charge applies, the contributions will be offset against your final legal bill.
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