Charges have been dropped against ex-West Yorkshire Police Chief Sir Norman Bettison
If you are looking for legal advice, one of your first concerns might be how you can fund your case. You may be able to get public funding.
What is legal aid?
In some circumstances you might be able to get free or cheaper legal advice, as the state may provide funding. This is known as legal aid.
There are different types of legal aid. Often, initial advice will be provided under limited 'Legal Help' funding. Once your case reaches a certain stage, your solicitor might advise you to apply for a Legal Aid Certificate. Your solicitor will guide you through this process and prepare the application on your behalf, but you will have to provide the relevant information and evidence of your finances.
What kinds of cases are covered by legal aid?
Legal aid is not available for all types of legal case. The solicitor that you instruct would need to be a legal aid lawyer, as well as being able to give you advice in the relevant area of law. Sometimes, only certain types of problem within a practice area will be covered by legal aid.
For example, you may be able to get legal aid for cases involving a civil claim against the police, a judicial review, or a breach of your human rights.
If you are wondering whether your case could be funded by legal aid, you should contact a specialist in that area.
Will I be eligible for legal aid?
In most circumstances, you will need to show that your financial circumstances are such that you are eligible for legal aid. Both your income and your capital will need to be assessed. This will take into account factors such as your income, your housing costs, whether you have dependents, and whether you have any savings or capital assets. If you have a partner, they may also have to provide details of their finances.
You won't have to go through a detailed assessment of your income if you are in receipt of a 'passporting benefit,' such as Income Support (IS), income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), Universal Credit (UC), Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (GC), or income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
A solicitor will be able to go through this assessment with you, which is good as this can be a bit complicated. You should be prepared to provide evidence such as bank statements, wage slips, and proof of your rent, if a solicitor has said that they are able to take your case on. You will then have to provide further information if it is necessary to apply for a legal aid certificate. Further information about eligibility for legal aid can be found here.
On applying for a certificate, it may be that you are eligible for legal aid but that you have to make a contribution to your legal costs. You may also have to pay back some legal costs at the end of your case from your damages.
If you are not eligible for legal aid, you might fund your case on a private basis, or under some other agreement such as a CFA, depending on what the law firm involved is able to offer you.
Civil Actions Against the Police, Civil Liberties, and Inquests Specialist Legal Advice
At Saunders Law, we offer expert legal assistance and representation in civil claims and complaints against the police and other state authorities. All of our solicitors within the Civil Liberties and Actions against the Police Department have extensive experience in this area. We take a thorough and determined approach to cases, working hard to ensure that you receive clear, comprehensive, and practical advice. We can advise you on the funding options available in the circumstances of your case.
Should you be looking for advice in this or a related area, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free, no-obligation, initial discussion to see if we might be able to help.