We provide Legal Aid. If you are in receipt of a low income or benefits, you may be entitled to Legal Aid. This means that our costs for carrying out work in your case are paid for by the Legal Aid Agency (although if you recover or keep property or assets as a result of your case you may have to pay some or all of the costs of your Legal Aid back this is known as the Statutory Charge.)
We can calculate whether you are eligible for Legal Aid at your appointment.
Frequently asked Questions about Legal Aid
Who can claim Legal Aid?
Legal Aid is still available in certain circumstances at our firm for family work. To enquire whether or not your are eligible for Legal Aid, please ring and ask to speak to one of the family solicitors or go to the Legal Aid Website: www.gov.uk/legal-aid/eligibility
What is the Statutory Charge?
This is where the Legal Aid Agency decides that you should pay back some or all of your legal costs if you recover or keep property or assets as a result of legal proceedings.
The Statutory Charge is worked out after the case is finished and the Solicitors costs are calculated. This charge can be waived in exceptional circumstances but this is rare.
What is the Solicitors Charge?
If you are in receipt of Family Help for your case then the Legal Aid Agency pays us a standard fee. The Legal Aid Agency is the body that regulates Legal Aid and used to be known as the Legal Aid Board.
The fees that we are paid depend on the level of work we do. If the amount of work carried out goes over the standard fee and is 3 times the amount that we would get paid under the Family Help Scheme then you may have to pay a “Solicitors Charge” to the Legal Aid Agency.
What types of Legal Aid are there?
Family Help Scheme
If you are eligible for Legal Aid then we will usually carry out work initially under the Family Help Scheme.
This scheme permits us to carry out the initial work needed in your case such as seeing you at interview, telephone calls and letters to the other party.
This scheme does not cover our costs for attending Court and if that were required we would have to apply for a full Public Funding Certificate.
Public Funding Certificate
If matters are not resolved and Court proceedings need to be issued or the matter becomes complex, we may have to apply for a Public Funding Certificate. This gives us a greater amount of funding to carry out further work such as representation at Court and dealing with the Court documentation.
Emergency Legal Aid
In cases of emergency such as applying for an urgent injunction then we may have to apply for emergency funding to cover work we do.
What do I need to provide to you so that you can claim Legal Aid?
If you are in receipt of benefits:
You need to provide us with a recent (within the last 2 weeks of signing the form) letter from the agency that pays your benefits outlining the amount of benefits you receive; how often you receive it and what type of benefit it is.
We can obtain this for you from the Benefits Agency but this does take a long time and may delay your case, as there is a limit to the amount of work we can carry out without proof of benefits.
Therefore if you do not have a recent letter we would suggest that you obtain one from the benefits agency that pays your benefits. You also need to obtain details of any Child Tax Credit you receive.
If you work:
We need 5 weeks of wage slips covering the date you sign the Legal Aid form. In other words the four weeks before and the next wage slip when you receive it. We also need a bank statement showing any Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits or Child Benefit you may receive.
If you require any further information please contact us.
To find out more about Legal Aid you can go to the Community Legal Advice website at http://www.communitylegaladvice.org.uk