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Topic 13 Legal aid Topic 13 Legal aid. Topic 13 Legal aid Introduction to legal aid 1.Criminal and civil funding 2.Eligibility 3.Conditional fee arrangements.

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Presentation on theme: "Topic 13 Legal aid Topic 13 Legal aid. Topic 13 Legal aid Introduction to legal aid 1.Criminal and civil funding 2.Eligibility 3.Conditional fee arrangements."— Presentation transcript:

1 Topic 13 Legal aid Topic 13 Legal aid

2 Topic 13 Legal aid Introduction to legal aid 1.Criminal and civil funding 2.Eligibility 3.Conditional fee arrangements 4.Types of help

3 Topic 13 Legal aid Criminal and civil funding Funding for legal help and advice is controlled by the Legal Services Commission.

4 Topic 13 Legal aid Criminal Defence Service The Legal Services Commission is also responsible for public funding in criminal cases and the majority of its budget is spent here. As with civil funding, the LSC has set up an organisation to administer criminal legal aid known as the Criminal Defence Service.

5 Topic 13 Legal aid Community Legal Service The Community Legal Service (CLS) administers civil advice and assistance, at a cost of £846 million in 2004/05. Contracts are negotiated with firms of solicitors with the relevant expertise and the firms are then paid on a monthly basis. Only those firms of solicitors with a contract can carry out publicly funded work. To get a contract, the firm of solicitors will need to have a ‘quality mark’, which is only awarded after inspection by the CLS.

6 Topic 13 Legal aid Civil legal aid The Community Legal Service provides a number of different types of help in civil matters: legal help help at court approved family help legal representation

7 Topic 13 Legal aid Legal help The Community Legal Service provides those that are eligible with up to 2 hours of advice and assistance with any legal problem.

8 Topic 13 Legal aid Help at court The Community Legal Service allows an eligible party to have a solicitor or advisor to speak for them at a court hearing.

9 Topic 13 Legal aid Approved family help In family cases, Community Legal Service is available to assist in resolving disputes, often using mediation. Mediation is a type of dispute resolution that helps parties to reach an agreement. Advice and assistance are available for those attending family mediation or for those who are not attending mediation but who require general help.

10 Topic 13 Legal aid Legal representation This service allows representation in court for both claimants and defendants. Two different types of assistance are available: Investigative help allows the strength of a claim to be assessed. Full representation covers legal representation in court proceedings.

11 Topic 13 Legal aid Eligibility To qualify for some types of civil legal aid, certain conditions must be met and the applicant must not exceed certain financial limits.

12 Topic 13 Legal aid Legal help, help at court and legal representation Assistance will only be given if there is a benefit to the client and it is reasonable for the matter to be funded.

13 Topic 13 Legal aid Financial limits Monthly income must not exceed £2,288. Disposable income: if a person’s income is less than £2,288, he or she must have a disposable income of less than £632. A partner’s income can also be taken into account. For the Legal Representation Scheme, a contribution will have to be made by anyone with a disposable income between £232 and the £632 limit. Capital, e.g. savings, stocks and bonds, must be under £8,000. A contribution may be required from those with between £3,000 and £8,000. Benefits: those in receipt of income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance will qualify automatically.

14 Topic 13 Legal aid Conditional fee agreements Following the Access to Justice Act 1999, some cases which previously qualified for legal aid are no longer eligible for public funding. Personal injury cases fall into this category, and those who wish to make such a claim have to find alternative means of funding it. Potential claimants with enough money can fund the cases themselves, but this is prohibitively expensive for many, who seek an alternative. To meet this need, conditional fee agreements (CFAs) are heavily promoted by solicitors and personal injury firms.

15 Topic 13 Legal aid Criminal legal aid advice and assistance police station advice and assistance advocacy assistance representation duty solicitors

16 Topic 13 Legal aid Advice and assistance The Criminal Defence Service funds help from a solicitor, including: giving general advice writing letters negotiating getting a barrister’s opinion There is a means test, and a client is not eligible if his or her disposable income exceeds £1,000 a month.

17 Topic 13 Legal aid Police station advice and assistance Anyone questioned over an offence — whether arrested or not — can get free legal advice from a contracted solicitor. This type of help is not means tested. The person involved can choose between the duty solicitor, a solicitor from the police list or his or her own solicitor if he or she has one.

18 Topic 13 Legal aid Advocacy assistance This provides the cost of a solicitor preparing a case and initial representation in certain proceedings in the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts. It also covers representation for defendants who have not paid a civil fine or those who have breached a civil court order and are at risk of imprisonment. Such assistance is subject to a merits test but there is no means test.

19 Topic 13 Legal aid Representation Those summoned for or charged with a criminal offence can apply for funding to cover the cost of a solicitor to prepare a defence and for representation in court. If a barrister is needed, these costs will also be met. If necessary, advice regarding an appeal is also covered.

20 Topic 13 Legal aid Duty solicitors Duty solicitors are available either at the police station or at the Magistrates’ Court and give free legal advice to those who require their assistance.

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