In U.K., the Legal Services Commission (LSC), a government organisation, works with not-for-profit organisations and solicitors to provide free legal aid to people with low incomes. Here is how a person can avail of free legal aid in U.K.:
Free legal aid FAQ
Who can give free legal aid?
Solicitors and legal advisers who are registered with the LSC are qualified to provide legal aid.
What kind of legal aid is covered?
A solicitor or an adviser will give advice to people on legal problems and help prepare their case for court. This involves writing letters, negotiating/mediating, getting opinions, and writing a case.
Costs required for starting or taking a court case, or representing in the court are not covered.
What issues are covered?
Advice on general problems including housing, family and consumer laws, court procedures, discrimination cases, disputed adoption cases, preparation for a tribunal hearing, medical negligence and personal injury cases.
In some cases, advice is also given on making wills.
Who qualifies for free legal aid?
You can get free legal help if you or your partner get:
- Income support
- Income-related Employment Allowance
- Income-related Jobseeker’s Allowance
- The guaranteed credit part of Pension Credit Do people with income or capital qualify for free legal help? (as on June 2011) Yes. However, if their monthly income is over £2,657 before taxes and insurance, they are not eligible. If they have more than four children, then the limit goes up by £222 per additional child. Partner’s income is included in this calculation unless the legal dispute arises with the partner. If their gross monthly income is below £2,657, then a solicitor or adviser will work out the disposable income (income after deductions), and if disposable income is lower than £733, the person qualifies for free legal aid. The solicitor or adviser will convince himself that there is a chance of the person winning the case or making some monetary gain if the case involves money. If a person and his partner jointly have over £8,000 in savings (including bank savings, value of home, other valuable assets), he will not qualify for free legal aid. However, if the person qualifies for free legal aid (see above), he is entitled to receive it irrespective of how much capital he possesses.
Does a person have to pay anything for legal aid?
Only if the person wins the case and gets money or property in a family, medical negligence or personal injury case. The solicitor’s fees are deducted from the benefits received in these cases and these deductions are called as the statutory charge. The solicitor can waive the statutory charge if he feels that paying it will cause the person hardship.