Legal aid refers to the act of providing legal help to people who are unable to pay for their court representations out of their pockets. This setup is specially requested by the liberal groups to ensure that the poor and the foreign people will be properly represented in court. This thus resulted in the emergence of legal aid lawyers who are willing to offer their expertise to people who can’t afford to hire a attorney.
Most lawyers are usually listed in the Yellow Pages under “Barristers and Solicitors” and “Lawyers”; but not all these lawyers are available for legal aid. Some lawyers may answer questions about legal aid for free, but you should always check this with the lawyer when you start talking to them. In addition, the state and local bar associations maintain lawyer referral lists. Hence, you may wish to approach the lawyer referral service foran attorney who specializes in the type of case that you are concerned with. However, it should be noted that such referrals does not guarantee a level of experience.
In most circumstances, a legal aid lawyer will only be available if you can’t afford one to represent you at a court, tribunal or other judicial body. For criminal offences, you have the option to choose your own lawyer if you wish to. If not, the Legal Aid Society will assign a lawyer suitable for your case off the list of approved lawyers.
For disputes relating to civil, family and domestic violence, you will have to find your own lawyer.
There are a few things that you must know before you approach any legal aid lawyer. Your lawyer must generally be based in the location where your case is to be heard. In addition, he must be able to appear at court when needed In other words, he has to be willing and available to represent you in court. More importantly, your lawyer should have the right experience to deal with your case. You can find out more about the lawyer by searching on the internet or contacting the association that the lawyer is affiliated to.
On the other hand, there are some important items that you need to provide when you approach your lawyer. This will help him to assess your situation better. It is essential that you provide information on the following:
any letters or documents about your case
your personal and financial details, including proof of your earnings and weekly expenses
any income support or family support you receive
any property or assets you own
any debts or mortgages that you might have.
If you have a partner (de facto or married) you also have to provide details of their financial situation. However, if your dispute is with your partner, they don’t have to fill out a form. In some cases, you may be required to pay a contribution towards your legal aid costs. There are a few ways that you can do this. You can opt to pay a lump sum, or pay in installments by automatic payment. Another alternative is to pay the costs from the money you get if your case is successful.