If you’re involved in a Public Law case, you may be entitled to Legal Aid.
What Is Legal Aid?
Legal Aid is funding for legal claims, provided by the government through the Legal Aid Agency. It could mean you won’t pay anything for legal advice, even if your case is unsuccessful
Which Types Of Public Law Cases Is Legal Aid Available For?
Legal Aid is available for eligible cases relating to:
- Actions against the police or a state body
- Community Care challenges
- Challenges regarding NHS treatment
- Court of Protection – welfare and medical treatment
- Human Rights Act claims
- Judicial Reviews.
Could I Qualify For Means-Tested Legal Aid?
Judicial Review, Human Rights act claims and actions against the police claims can qualify for means-tested Legal Aid. This means we will look at your personal circumstances to determine if you would qualify for means-tested Legal Aid to cover some, or all of your legal costs.
You may be eligible if you have:
- Less than £8,000 of capital (higher allowances apply to those aged 60 and over)
- A gross income of less than £2,657 per month
- A disposable income less than £733 per month
- Certain state benefits.
In some cases, if you qualify for legal aid, the Legal Aid Agency may decide that you should pay a contribution to your legal fees.
Can I Get Non-means Tested Legal Aid?
In some circumstances you could be eligible for Legal Aid regardless of your financial situation. This means your finances won’t be taken into account when deciding if you can get Legal Aid. This could include cases involving Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
Are There Any Cases For Which Legal Aid Is Not Available?
You won’t qualify for Legal Aid if your case involves:
- Court of Protection disputes relating to property or finance matters
- Lasting powers of attorney
- Deputyship applications for property and affairs.
Are Most Public Law Cases Funded By Legal Aid?
The majority of our Court of Protection cases and judicial review cases are funded by Legal Aid
We can only offer Legal Aid for Special Educational Needs Tribunals from our Gatwick office. Most of our education cases are usually paid for privately or via crowdfunding.
How Do I Apply For Legal Aid?
We’ll be able to help you apply for Legal Aid. If you’re eligible for means-tested Legal aid, you’ll need to give us some information about your finances so we can draft your application.
We’ll need information about your:
- Outgoings, including your most recent bank statements
- Capital – anything you have that’s of financial value (money, property or possessions)
- State benefits if you have any.
Once we have this information, we can make the application to the Legal Aid Agency.
What Other Funding Options Are Available?
If you can’t secure Legal Aid for your case, you may want to consider alternative funding options to help you carry your case forward.
Crowdfunding has become a popular way for people to gain financial support for legal issues. A number of online platforms specialise in crowdfunding, where friends, family and members of the public can help you raise funds.
When using these platforms you need to explain why you need legal advice and you also need to have a costs estimate from your solicitor. This will help both you and your crowd-funders know how much you are likely to need.
No Win No Fee
Sometimes, Public Law cases are eligible for No Win No Fee agreements. This option could be available for you if you’re claiming against a public body. We’ll let you know if this could be an option for your case. No Win No Fee means that if you don’t win the case, you don’t have to pay the court or your solicitor any fees.
Legal Expenses Insurance
In certain cases your home insurance or banking may include legal expenses insurance and may provide funding for your legal expenses. You should check directly with your insurer to find out if this is the case.
You can pay privately for legal advice and representation. Every case is different, which is why we are here to walk you through all the options that are available to you. We aim to offer a transparent service throughout your case, giving you a clear upfront cost and updating you regularly as the case progresses.
Are There Limits To How Much Of A Case Legal Aid Can Cover?
This varies case to case. Usually, Legal Aid will cover the whole case. However, we will keep re-assessing the case regularly, and let you know if more funding is needed to see it through.
Your solicitor will need to apply to the Legal Aid Agency at certain stages of the claim in order to secure extended funding.
Appeals to a higher court will usually need extra funding or permission from the Legal Aid Agency.
Public Law Legal Aid – free initial advice
We strongly advise that you speak to our team as soon as possible if you think you might need Legal Aid.
We’ll be happy to discuss this with you in more detail in a free initial consultation. Call today for free on 0800 028 1943 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you.
The above information relates to the law in England and Wales.