What does legal aid cover?
Legal aid helps to cover the cost of:
· legal advice
· legal representation in a court or tribunal for serious problems
· family mediation.
Your legal aid adviser or solicitor will:
· check if you qualify for legal aid .
· apply for legal aid on your behalf if you qualify.
Your legal aid adviser or solicitor will explain to you that:
· for all but the most serious problems, you must show that you cannot afford to pay your legal aid costs
· you may need to contribute to or pay the legal aid costs back later.
When do I contribute to the cost of my case?
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) will:
· review your financial circumstances
· tell you if you have to pay a lump sum from your assets or make monthly payments from your income .
· at the end of your case, tell you if you need to repay some or all of your legal aid costs.
You must tell the LAA and your legal aid adviser or solicitor if your financial circumstances change as this may affect if and how much you have to pay.
If you don’t tell the LAA about a change to your financial situation or don’t cooperate with any enquiries, your legal aid may be taken away and you may have to repay all of your legal aid costs.
What happens if I am awarded money or property at the end of the case?
You may have to repay some or all of your legal aid costs if you keep or gain money or property at the end of your case.
What do I have to pay?
If you have to repay some or all of your legal aid costs, you have a right to comment on these costs.
Your legal aid adviser or solicitor must show you the bill before sending it to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) for assessment.
The LAA or court will assess your legal aid costs and also pay your legal adviser or solicitor direct.
You will need to repay your legal aid costs back to the LAA if you have kept or been awarded money or property. This is done through the ‘statutory charge’ which is a charge, made by law, on your money or property. Any contributions you made to your legal aid costs during your case will be taken off your legal aid bill. The LAA will not add the cost of assessing your legal aid bill to the amount you owe.
Sometimes, the court or tribunal orders your opponent to pay some or all of your legal aid adviser’s costs. You may pay less if your opponent pays these costs but it is your responsibility to recover the debt from your opponent. If you are successful in getting your opponent to repay your legal costs, you must repay the LAA immediately.
Please make an appointment to see Lynsey Rees or Ian Greenslade who offer a free obligation appointment where consideration can be given to see if you qualify on 01524 32437 or use our contact page.