How to get Legal Aid in an Emergency
Certain types of cases qualify for emergency help. As a rule, it applies to problems associated with children and domestic abuse.
In this case, it would mean you may get urgent representation in court.
A legal adviser handles the process of getting legal aid in an emergency.
They would apply for Emergency Legal Representation which covers any immediate action needed.
Note: You would still need to apply for legal aid using the standard method to cover any ongoing work.
Free Advice in Criminal Cases
The normal rules of legal aid will change if you get arrested. If this happens, a police custody officer at the police station will help you get legal aid. There are several ways they will offer you free advice:
- Via a telephone call if the offence is not serious.
- Conveyed by the duty solicitor at the police station.
- Given to you by your own family mediator or legal adviser.
Being Charged or Going to Court
If you get charged with committing a crime you may need to make an appearance in court. Either way, a solicitor will verify whether you qualify for legal aid or not. Once that happens you can either:
- Find your own family mediator or criminal legal aid solicitor (in England and Wales).
- Ask the court to speak to a duty solicitor.
- Take advice from the organisation that helped with your case at the police station.
Information needed for the Legal Adviser
Your legal adviser will need to get some personal information from you and your partner (if you have one). They will want to know about:
- Any claims for welfare benefits (and benefits statements)
- Income, savings, and spending (includes bank statements and pay slips)
- National Insurance numbers
You will also need to supply them with copies of any relevant evidence to the case, such as:
- Birth certificates and marriage certificates (required for family cases)
- Communication and letters
- Court documents
Note: You must inform your legal adviser if there are any changes to your financial situation.
Legal Aid for Problems Abroad
You can apply for legal aid in:
- Most European Union countries (excluding Croatia and Romania)
- Azerbaijan, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey
A publicly funded solicitor can help you with the application. In most cases they can also help you get documents translated. You should contact the embassy or the consulate of the particular country you are in. The Legal Aid Agency can also help you find out how to apply.
Note: The Legal Aid Agency handle legal problems abroad ‘[email protected]’.