We have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency to provide a legal advice and representation service to clients in community care (including Court of Protection cases and those otherwise involving disputes about mental capacity and care and welfare services, including judicial review). This is for initial advice and also, where necessary, for representation in Court proceedings.
Where representation is needed in Court we advise clients every step of the way.
Legal aid is based on two tests – your means (finances) and merits (the strength of the case). We have to make sure that you are entitled to legal aid and meet both tests before we can confirm that we can help you with your case. The legal aid rules have changed significantly since 2013 and many people who were previously entitled to have help with paying for their legal costs will no longer be able to access legal aid for their cases. The rules are much more complicated than previously so please be patient while we ask questions to see if you are entitled to legal aid. We will need information about your case as well as your finances.
You can use the Legal Aid Agency’s eligibility calculator to see if you might be entitled to legal aid but do ask us if you are unsure or have any questions and we can check for you. There are special rules for people over the age of 60 and other disregards and allowances, so do ask us about this.
What we will need to know about your finances (and those of anyone you live with):
Which benefits you are claiming
Details of all your income from other sources
The amount of any capital (such as savings, property etc.) which you have
We will ask you more questions and are likely to ask you for letters from the benefits agency, bank statements etc. so that we can show the Legal Aid Agency that you are financially entitled to legal aid. If you are entitled to legal aid you may still need to make a contribution to your legal costs but usually otherwise you will not have to pay for your legal fees.