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Legal Aid – Do I qualify?

Published on 26 January 2018 | Modified on 26 January 2018

Written by Stacey Bennett
legal aid

If you find yourself to be a suspect in a police investigation, or the subject of criminal proceedings, your first concern is likely to be “what will the potential outcome be?” closely followed by “how much is this going to cost me?” In what is already a hugely stressful situation, you don’t want added pressure of a large legal bill. Legal Aid can be available in certain circumstances however.

Legal aid for Criminal Investigations

Public funding in the police station is available for all, regardless of means. Everyone who is to be interviewed by  police, either voluntarily or under arrest, is entitled to FREE, independent, legal advice.

You may also be eligible, dependant on means, for legal aid for representation in interviews under caution that are carried out by other regulatory bodies. This includes the Department for Work and Pensions, RSPCA, local Council.

Legal Aid for Criminal Proceedings

In the Magistrates Court you must satisfy both the “interests of justice” (IOJ) test and also the means test in order to be eligible for Legal Aid. You must be able to show that your case warrants you having legal  representation for example if there is a substantial question of law, you are likely to lose your livelihood or liberty, or it is in the interests of another person (such as the complainant) that you are represented. If you claim any of the following, you will passport the means test and will be automatically eligible on means:-

  • Income Support (IS)
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • State Pension Guarantee Credit
  • income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

You may still be eligible on means if your income is  under £22,235.

In the Crown Court, you are deemed to automatically pass the IOJ. With regards to the means test, if your income is more than £12,475 then you may have to pay a contribution towards Legal Aid.

Legal Aid can be complex. Let Poole Alcock take the stress out of funding for you. Call our experienced team who will assist in explaining the process and assess whether or not you are likely to be eligible for Legal Aid.


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