Need Legal Aid Advice?
Legal Aid Solicitors
At McGee O’Kane Solicitors we are expert Solicitors in Northern Ireland specialising in Legal Aid. We can apply for Legal Aid for you and offer a Free Consultation to assess your eligibility for Legal Aid.
Call us today on 028 71 229 343 to speak to our expert Team about Legal Aid and how we can help you.
Guide to the Legal Aid Scheme:-
There are three different types of legal aid
- Legal advice and assistance (the green form scheme), covering advice before the case goes to court
- Assistance by way of representation (ABWOR), covering advice before a case and representation in court. It applies to civil cases in magistrates’ courts, for example, proceedings in relation to children, and is available to patients before Mental Health Review Tribunals
- Civil legal aid, covering advice and representation in civil proceedings including court costs and professional fees.
The Green Form Scheme
Legal aid allows people with a low income to get free legal advice and assistance from a solicitor. The green form scheme covers help from a solicitor including general advice on a legal problems, writing letters etc.
Legal problems covered by the scheme
The green form scheme covers advice on general legal problems including advice on the following:-
- Maintenance or disputes over children and undefended divorce. It is only available for the person starting proceedings, not the respondent
- Contested adoptions
- Preparing for tribunals
- Help with the legal costs of making a will
- Medical negligence cases or cases where personal injury arises from an assault or deliberate abuse.
For your case to qualify for the green form scheme, there are two criteria that must always be met:-
- Help will be provided only where it can be shown there is a benefit to you.
- Help will be provided only if it is reasonable for the matter to be funded.
In addition to these criteria, there may be other criteria applied, depending on the nature of the case, for example, if the case is about possession of your home, legal help will be refused if the prospects of avoiding possession are poor.
Legal Aid for Criminal Proceedings
For cases involving criminal proceedings you may be eligible for help through legal aid. This could cover the cost of representation by solicitors or barristers, and for bail applications. Getting criminal legal aid depends mainly on whether it is “in the interests of justice” that you are legally represented. Criminal legal aid does not cover you if you bring a private criminal prosecution yourself.
Which cases are covered by Criminal Legal Aid?
Criminal legal aid is usually granted in the following cases:-
- If you are likely to go to prison if convicted,
- If you are likely to lose your job if convicted,
- If you cannot follow what is happening in the trial because of mental or physical disability or language problems,
- Where children are involved- in care proceedings, an application for a contact order (if they are the subject of a care order), or adoption proceedings in the magistrates courts to children or their parents,
- If a child is charged with or convicted of a criminal offence,
- For appeals against criminal court decisions or contempt of court proceedings.