You may be eligible for legal aid and your lawyer can advise on whether you will qualify or not.
If your court case is being heard in the Crown Court then it would certainly be in your best interest to instruct an experienced criminal defence lawyer to advise you on the way forward.
Am I Eligible?
To be eligible for Legal Aid, you will have to pass a means test that is set by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA). By showing that your income and capital are within the current financial limits set. In criminal cases, the Legal Services Commission explains the situation in Crown and higher courts: "Legal aid can be granted to all defendants. The court can issue an order to recover legal aid funding if they believe a defendant could have paid for their own defence."
In regards to non-criminal law, legal aid is available for areas including: Family law (marriage/ divorce and disputes over children); housing; employment; asylum and immigration; adoption disputes; mental health; and personal injury (if the injury results from assault or abuse) and more.
To find out if you are entitled to receive legal aid you will be asked to provide evidence of your income and your assets.
Once provided, your lawyer they will be able to assess your eligibility for funding.
You Will Be Asked To Provide
- A Bank Statement covering the last four week period
- An estimate of the value of all capital assets, including the value of your home or any other properties
- Your National Insurance number
- Proof of ID
For those who are employed, either full time or part-time
1. If you are paid monthly: A Payslip issued within the four week period
2. If you are paid weekly: four consecutive Payslips, at least three of which fall within the four week period
For those who are Self-Employed A copy of your last Tax Return plus a copy of the Accounts submitted with it. Please note that if you believe your income has significantly changed in comparison with the previous year, you also need to bring an accounts statement for the current year.
For those receiving Income Support or Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit. A current letter (dated within the last six months) advising you of your entitlement to this benefit (your appointment card or similar paperwork will not be enough).
For those receiving direct payments of Child Support and/or Spousal Support, A bank statement for the four week period before your meeting with the mediator which shows these credits paid into your account.
For those receiving Working Tax Credit and/or Child Tax Credit the letter informing you of this benefit (which must be no more than six months old) or a bank statement for the four week period before your meeting with the mediator showing the credit to your account
If your monthly Housing Cost (rent or mortgage payment) is more than one third of your pre-tax monthly income you need to provide evidence of this payment.
If your Childcare Costs exceed £600 per month, for full-time work, or equivalent for part-time work, we will need you to provide evidence of this.
You may be assessed for Legal Aid if your pre-tax income is less than £13,000 per year and your capital (not subject matter of the dispute) is less than £8,000, or less than £100,000 (subject matter of dispute). Your assessor takes into account your Income Tax and NI payments; mortgage or rental payments; allowances for dependants living with you; childcare costs and maintenance payments.
Once all these costs have been taken into account, as you may be eligible for funding if your net income is less than £1,083 per month, and your capital does not exceed above limits.
If the appropriate documents (as per evidence required overleaf) have not been provided at the time of your initial meeting, you will be charged a fee for the Assessment meeting.
If you would like to check if you can receive legal aid [Click here] or visit the GOV.UK website. But we do advise that you instruct an experienced criminal defence lawyers a soon as possible.
or Give us a call on 020 7737 9330 to contact us directly and arrange a meeting to see if you are eligible for funding or will have to pay privately.