There are different types of civil legal aid available to people in Glasgow.
These are as follows:
- Legal help – This is where you will receive advice on your rights and options and help with negotiating
- Help at court – This is where someone will speak on your behalf at court however, they don’t formally represent you
- Family mediation – this helps you to come to an agreement in a family dispute after your relationship has broken down without going to court. This can help to resolve problems that involve children, money and the family home
- Legal representation – This is representation at court by a solicitor
- Controlled legal representation – This is representation at mental health tribunal proceedings or before the first-tier tribunal in asylum or immigration cases
.Legal aid services can be provided by law firms that have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency. Generally this includes solicitors in private practice, law centres and in some Citizens Advice Bureaux.
In order for you to be eligible for legal aid your income and capital must be within certain limits. If you or your partner are getting benefits then your income will not be looked at to see if you qualify for legal aid however, your capital will be looked at.
If you have income then you can expect your gross monthly income to be taken into account, this means the income that you will receive before tax and national insurance are taken off and it excluded certain social security benefits. If your income falls into the category that you would be eligible for legal aid then your solicitor will check what your disposable income is – this is the amount of income that you will have left after deductions have been made for national insurance, tax, maintenance, housing costs and other expenses.
If you have disposable capital (savings) that are over £8,000 then you won’t be eligible for legal aid. This includes money in the bank, valuable items and the value of your home if you own it.
If you have had legal aid and the result of your case is that you have kept or gained money/property then it’s more than likely that you will have to pay back some or all of the costs of your case – this is known as being the statutory charge.
Legal aid for criminal cases
The legal aid in criminal cases is organised by the Legal Aid Agency. There are different types of help that you may be able to get however, again this depends on your circumstances.
It’s important that you get advice from a solicitor who will assess whether or not you are eligible for legal aid.
You are able to get help with a criminal case even if you haven’t been charge with committing an offence. You can get general advice, write letters or get a solicitors opinion, this is available if you are on certain benefits or if your income and savings are below a specific amount.
There are three different ways that you can be helped if you need represented in court for a criminal offence. These are known as a representation order, advocacy assistance and free advice and representation at the magistrates’ court.
Representation order – This covers representation by a solicitor and if necessary, by a barrister in criminal cases. In order for you to qualify for a representation order in the magistrates’ court you must meet financial conditions.
Advocacy assistance – This covers the costs of a solicitor preparing your case and initial representation in certain cases for example: prisoners that are facing disciplinary charges, prisoners with a life sentence who are referred to the parole board or warrants of further detention. You don’t have to meet any financial conditions to qualify for advocacy assistance except if it’s a prison hearing.
Free advice and representation at the magistrates’ court – If you didn’t get legal advice before your case comes up at the magistrates’ court then you will be allowed free legal advice and representation by the court duty solicitor. This doesn’t apply to less serious cases such as minor driving offences however, it can cover cases such as the non-payment of council tax. You don’t have to meet any financial conditions to get free advice and representation at the magistrates’ court.
We are solicitors who have a wealth of experience in both civil and criminal cases and would be more than happy to discuss your circumstances to establish whether or not you are eligible for legal aid.
Simply get in touch with us today and we will arrange for you to come into our solicitors in Glasgow.