How to Access Legal Aid
Legal aid refers to assistance offered to citizens by governments to access justice by court. The government caters for costs of legal advice, family mediation and representation in a court or tribunal. The Law indirectly prescribes the right to free legal assistance to people who have this right guaranteed by the provisions of the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International court. In some cases, private lawyers and law firms are paid by the government to deal with cases from eligible clients together with cases from charge-paying clients. The legal services can also include education, representation and law reform offered by both lawyers and non-lawyers.
The objective of legal aid
The Legal help Program advocates for fair legal proceedings and helps to ensure the right to justice for economically underprivileged persons accused of severe and or complex criminal offenses and with the possibility of imprisonment, and for youths indicted under the Youth law Acts, in countries they live. The Legal Aid Program also assists to ensure that Countries are able to cost-effectively meet their criminal legal aid responsibilities in national tribunals. These responsibilities can include managing Public Security and Anti-terrorism cases, immigrants and refugee legal aid, Drugs and Substances Act and the management of national Court-Ordered Counsels. And also to make sure that public confidence in the legal aid program is sustained.
Eligibility for legal aid
Meeting the criteria for receiving legal aid services depends on the type of case and financial situations by the person seeking to apply;
- When you have a serious problem. You might be able to get legal aid for problems like:
- You’re supplementing legal arguments or conveying a case under the Human Rights Act.
- Family neglect to a member due to age, disability or basic educational needs
- You are homeless, you risk losing your home, or if it is in a bad shape.
- Necessitating financial advice on children or divorce if you’re experiencing an abusive relationship
- Necessitating representation at a mental health tribunal or inquest.
- Protecting yourself or your child from violence or oppression, eg domestic violence or involuntary marriage
- Opposing the way the government has decided about you
- Appealing a decision made by the social security tribunal about your benefits to the Upper Tribunal, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.
- You’ve been accused of a crime, face prison or incarceration
- Victim of prejudice
- Being detained, charged or questioned by the police
- Family mediation, eg if you’re separating or getting a divorce
- Seeking refuge or if you’ve been the victim of human trafficking
- When you can’t afford to pay for legal costs. The financial criteria to accessing legal aid can be obtained from the current national poverty guidelines per country. This information is normally published in the national media or provided by the legal department of the state.
Individuals or families are generally qualified for free help through a pro bono or legal services program if their annual income is below the amounts shown by the national poverty line. There are also exceptions to these income limits, which you would need to find more about from your community legal aid or pro bono program.
How to demand legal aid services
Check if you can get legal aid services in your country. Many governments offer legal aid services to their citizens, search for a legal support solicitor and your legal adviser or family mediator will apply for legal Abet on your behalf. If you are eligible, the government will pay their costs promptly.
In case of emergency situations, you can get help if you need urgent representation in court, for example, to keep you and your children in safe hands from domestic violence.
Your legal consultant will apply for emergency legal representation to accomplish any immediate action. It still necessitates applying for legal aid following the normal procedures for any legal support proceedings.
Legal aid services granted
- Advice on your entitlements and alternatives
- Help with negotiations and paperwork
- Assistance if you’re accused of a crime, for example mentoring at a police station
- A canvasser or barrister to conduct your case and to represent you in court and some tribunals.
The legal departments are committed to facilitating court proceedings in official languages. In case of citizens or mostly refugees who are unable to read or understand official languages, the government or law firms can hire a competent translation agency to carry out the duty of providing language solutions i.e ”legal aid rates translation” in partnership with tribunals. As governments deliver legal aid services, they are responsible for ensuring that legal aid services are available for citizens in all languages through securing professional interpreters and translators.