If you are in need of expert legal advice regarding an area of family or criminal law, you could be left wondering how you are going to be able to afford a qualified legal expert, especially if your financial resources are limited.
Fortunately, there is a provision in place to provide some of those who are unable to pay for legal representation access the court system in the form of legal aid.
This guide looks at the eligibility criteria for accessing legal aid, when it can be utilised and where to head for free, expert legal advice and representation.
Am I entitled to legal aid?
Legal aid exists to help those who cannot afford legal representation access to expert legal support, but it is not available to everyone, for every legal issue.
Legal aid can be used to cover the costs of legal advice from an experienced, professional family and criminal law solicitor for advice only and/or full legal representation at a trial or tribunal.
Who qualifies for legal aid?
To qualify for legal aid in England or Wales, you will need to show that you meet the eligibility criteria – this means proving that your case is serious and that you are unable to pay a solicitor for legal advice or representation.
Certain legal issues involving domestic abuse, forced marriage or children disputes can be covered by legal aid subject to means & merits assessments. National Legal Service is one of the country’s largest providers of legal aid for domestic abuse survivors and work with clients from diverse backgrounds.
Can you get legal aid for a divorce?
Unless there have been incidents of domestic abuse, child abuse or violence against any party looking to dissolve a marriage through the divorce process, legal aid is not available.
However, you may be able to access legal aid for mediation to help make the divorce process as smooth and as stress-free as possible. As with any other case, the decision to award legal aid will be made after means and merit testing.
Can I get legal aid in family court?
Legal aid is available in some areas of family law, but must meet at least one of the following criteria below in order to be granted:
- Where there is social services involvement such as in cases involving emergency protection orders, care proceedings or supervision orders
- Family injunctions such as non-molestation orders, forced marriage protection orders, occupation orders and orders under the Protection from Harassment act
- International and domestic child abduction cases
- Private child disputes where evidence of abuse exists
- Divorce where domestic violence or abuse evidence exists
If you are unsure if your case qualifies for legal aid, our experienced team here at National Legal Service is here to help. As legal aid specialists, we invite you to get in touch today for a free, no-obligation consultation in the strictest confidence. We will be able to advise you on your eligibility for legal aid.