Legal Aid can help pay for legal advice, but how do you know if you are entitled to claim?
Legal aid can help meet the costs of legal advice, family mediation and representation in a court or tribunal. In order to claim you will need to show that your case is eligible, that the problem is serious and that you can’t afford to cover the legal costs yourself. Some examples of cases that might be eligible:
- You or your family are at risk of harm, such as from domestic violence or forced marriage
- You’ve been in an abusive relationship and need advice on finances, children or divorce
- There is a risk that a child in your family will be taken into care
- You need family mediation because you are separating or getting divorced
You will need to show that you can’t afford to pay for this help. You may have to pay some money towards the legal costs of your case or pay costs back at a later date.
Apart from care proceedings where there is an automatic eligibility for a parent to be granted legal aid for representation, you will need to be able to prove that you are the victim of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse can be physical, emotional or financial and must be proven to have occurred within the last five years. Evidence needs to be provided to support your case, for example a criminal court conviction by the perpetrator or a GP’s letter relating to your condition.
In order to prove that you cannot afford to pay the legal costs yourself you will be required to provide evidence of your income, including any benefits you receive, income, savings and spending including payslips and bank statements, plus your National Insurance number. Documentation will also have to be provided in relation to your savings and capital.
We may also need evidence relating to your case, for example, court documents and relevant correspondence.
More information regarding Legal aid and how to find out whether you are eligible is available online at www.gov.uk/legal-aid
You may also wish to contact your local Citizens Advice Office or visit their website www.citizensadvice.org.uk
We are authorised to carry out Legal Aid work in relation to family matters and can apply for funding on your behalf if you are eligible to receive it.
We also offer free 30-minute initial consultations, where you can have an informal chat with one of our lawyers about your problem, your rights and your options. To book an appointment, please call us or come into one of our offices.