The UK is one of the most prolific economies in Europe and this attracts numerous people who come here to commit various crimes. However, there is also the category of persons who commit wrongdoings without even knowing it, most of the times these persons being individuals who cannot afford the services of a solicitor. For them, there is the UK legal aid system through which certain categories of individuals can obtain free legal assistance and other benefits.
In order to obtain legal aid in such a large country like the UK, a person must correspond to specific criteria in order to also obtain certain benefits. Let’s see below what the main benefits of legal aid are and the categories of persons who can qualify for them.
The Legal Aid Agency in the UK
Before determining if a person and his/her case can benefit from legal aid, the Legal Aid Agency will determine the financial status of the individual and the nature of the case. For instance, if the Agency determines, in a case of debt collection, that the accused cannot pay the debt, some of the costs of the case can be covered by the Agency.
As a matter of fact, legal aid implies partially covering the costs of mediation, legal advice offered by a professional and court litigation costs. The amount of money covering the costs of any of the procedures will depend on factors such as the seriousness of the case and the eligibility of the individuals to obtain free assistance.
Those who cannot obtain legal aid from the Agency should know that free advice can be obtained from Citizen Advice, an organisation which can point offenders to lawyers enrolled with the Legal Aid Agency.
Eligibility for legal aid in the UK
There are two conditions for a person to qualify for legal aid in the United Kingdom. The first one refers to the case to be presented to the court of law and the financial situation of the accused. When it comes to the cases eligible for legal aid, these can target both criminal and non-criminal cases. While the limit to criminal cases is free representation when held in custody by the UK police, the civil cases in which a person can obtain free legal assistance cover cases such as debt recovery, housing and family issues.
A special case is represented by young offenders with ages between 16 and 18 who can also benefit from legal aid before the court of justice.
The benefits offered by legal aid in the UK are not to be neglected as they work on a well-established system for many years now. It is easy to contact the Agency and determine if a case can benefit from legal aid in the UK, and this makes the primary benefit of this system.