Legal aid can be a godsend for those who can’t afford to pay their legal dues. Legal aid helps with the costs of legal advice for those who are unable to pay for it. If you are someone who doesn’t make enough money to pay for legal advice you can apply for legal aid. But not everyone who applies for legal aid will receive it. There are a lot of factors that determine who gets legal aid and who doesn’t.
Some of the reasons which determine your legal aid acceptance status are:
• The type of legal problem you are facing. Not all cases are the same and cases which deal with personal injury, trust laws, boundary disputes, defamation etc. are not eligible for legal aid.
• Your financial eligibility which refers to your income or how much money you earn, and how much capital you have which refers to all the money, property and belongings you have.
• Legal aid is also depended on whether your particular case has a reasonable chance of winning and whether it is worth the time and money needed to win.
What does legal aid pay for? There are different types of legal aid and the one you might receive depends on your financial status and case. They can cover
• Legal Advice: The initial help with your case.
• Help at Court with Legal Representation: An advisor or solicitor who will represent you in a court hearing on your behalf and defend you if needed.
• Family Mediation: For cases involving family disputes, help you by mediating the dispute.
Legal aid is mostly given to cases dealing with civil issues. A civil legal case is a type of case that deals with disputes between people, companies and or other organizations. This includes governmental agencies as well. Within this umbrella, you can have cases that deal with your home, with your relationships or with your money.
If you are not eligible for legal aid there are other options available for you if you are unable to pay for the legal advice. There are legal centres which offer legal advice for free. There also law services which have conditional agreements where if they take up your case and do not win, they will not charge you any legal fees. There is also legal insurance which can help you pay the costs of the legal advice. Finally, there is the option of seeking help from your or your partner’s trade unions.
What happens if you get legal aid? Do you not have to pay anything? Well, if you are granted legal aid, the money does not come to you, it directly goes to the solicitor or adviser. This also does not mean you don’t have to pay anything. In most cases, the legal aid money only covers a part of the expense and you will have to pay the rest of the costs yourself. How much you have to pay again depends on your financial status and your specific case. There are usually three ways you can pay
• A lump sum, also called a capital contribution wherein you have to pay the entire amount in one payment.
• Monthly instalments or known as income contribution where a portion of monthly income is taken until all the dues are paid off.
• Statutory charge: In case that you win, you are expected to pay off the dues with the money or property that you receive or keep as a result of winning.
If you are in a state of the desperation of not having enough money and is being pressured into an unforeseen legal issue, legal aid can be the best option for you in terms helping with pay off your legal costs.