Legal aid is a public funding system which is intended for people who have limited financial means and cannot afford to pay for legal services. Individuals who need assistance on paying for the expenses of legal services can apply for it. However, not everyone and not every case may expect to receive legal help. There are guidelines and tests that must be passed and met before a legal aid is granted.
Receiving this assistance is based on the amount of income, the amount of capital such as belongings and properties and other financial eligibility of the applicant. Grant of the help is also based on the probability of the success of the case or if it is worthy of the money and time it may be provided with.
It is focused on individuals at risk of personal threats. It may be available for various kinds of legal civil cases. A legal civil case is described as a case where a party may be involved in a dispute with another individual, company or group. The civil disputes also include cases that have something to do with homes, relationships such as separation and divorce, money and benefits. There are particular cases that are not typically granted with legal aid. These cases may be on personal injury, negligence that resulted to property damages, legally transferring property ownership, boundary disagreement, making of wills, defamation such as slander or libel, falsehood, company and business matters. There are also certain courts and tribunals where legal aid may not be granted such as Lands tribunal and/or Employment tribunal.
To determine if a person applying for legal aid is eligible to receive the legal assistance, various aspects and points are considered. First there is the income of the applicant. The amount of income the applicant receives must provide an adequate amount for living expenses after the legal services are calculated. The applicant’s disposable capital may also be assessed; if there is any money, property or investments that may be sold or used so that legal help costs may be afforded. If the applicant has a partner or spouse and/or when the spouse is not the applicant’s opponent, the spouse’s disposable capital and income will also be evaluated. You may not be eligible for legal assistance if the amount of your income before tax deductions is high enough to afford a legal help. The gross income limit is applicable to families where 4 or more children are independent. Similarly, the amount of disposable capital must be below the limit in order to be financially eligible to it. Aside from the income and the capital, other things remain to be evaluated such as the type of the case the applicant has.
There are instances when legal aid may be granted without regards to the amount of money a person has, for instance on care proceedings related to children. The levels of legal assistance that applicants receive may vary. This level will be based on the results of assessment of the application. The first level is legal help which covers the initial advice or assistance to the legal problem. Next is assistance at court or when a lawyer speaks in your behalf but even with no formal representation. Family mediation and family help are other levels of legal assistance where family disagreements are mediated. Then there’s legal representation where the solicitor will provide court representations for you.