Applying for Legal Aid?
When services beyond simple legal advice are needed, you must apply for legal aid. A grant of legal aid means we will pay a lawyer to act for you. However, we will require you to make a contribution towards your legal costs depending on how much you can reasonably afford to pay.
To apply for aid you must fill in the application form and send it to a legal aid office together with proof of means. Usually, this will be a copy of a pension card (or, if working, two pay slips), and copies of bank statements for the last two months. These must be sent in with the application. If not, the application will simply be returned to you.
The cover of the application form need not be sent back. You should keep it because it explains the main conditions of legal aid.
If legal aid is granted, you will have to pay a contribution towards your legal costs. The minimum is $20, or $30 if you ask for representation by a private lawyer. It can be more than this, depending on your finances.
You can apply for legal aid directly to us, or if you wish to be represented by a particular private lawyer, through that person's office. Where possible, we will grant that request. If you have no particular lawyer in mind, we will arrange someone.
If legal aid is refused, you will be told why in a letter. Where aid is refused there is normally a right of appeal.
There are some cases for which we do not generally give legal aid. Often, this is because some other avenue of help is available. Also, we will not pay for cases where we think you can afford your own representation, or where the chances of success are poor.