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  1. 1. Finance of Legal services Mrs Hilton
  2. 2. Cost concern in civil cases • Major concerns for those in court cases is cost • Civil cases, some may decide not to proceed with their case therefore denied Access to Justice
  3. 3. Cost concern in criminal cases • Criminal cases, may not be able to – meet costs of defence – obtain advice – obtain assistance and representation • Denied a fair trial
  4. 4. Solution to cost concern • Public funding called legal aid is available in some instances in – Criminal – Civil cases
  5. 5. Legal services commission (LSC) Part 1 • Administers legal aid in England and Wales • Established under Access to Justice Act 1999 • Replaced old legal aid board • LSC 15 offices in England • Help 2 million people a year
  6. 6. Legal services commission (LSC) Part 2 • Department for Constitutional Affairs is responsible for LSC • Accountable to parliament for its performance • Administers two schemes – Community Legal Aid Service = civil – Criminal Defence Service = Criminal • Total LSC budget per year £2 Billion
  7. 7. Questions (3 each) 1. What is the name of the scheme that administers Civil Legal aid in England? 2. Does the LSC have jurisdiction in Scotland? 3. Which Act established the LSC? 4. Which Department oversees the LSC? 5. What is the LSC annual Budget? 6. How many people per year does the LSC help? 7. What scheme administers criminal Legal Aid in England and Wales? 8. What does LSC stand for? 9. To whom is the LSC accountable for its performance?
  8. 8. Community Legal Service • The CLS administers Civil advice and assistance • Contracts are negotiated with firms of solicitors with relevant expertise • Firms paid on a monthly basis • Only contract firms can carry out publically funded (legal aid) work
  9. 9. Quality mark • CLS will inspect then award a “quality mark” to solicitors • To ensure needs met thoughout England and Wales Others can get quality mark: – CAB – Law Centres – Community organisations
  10. 10. Types of assistance • People can access information, advice and assistance on a wide range of matters including: – Debt – Asylum – Housing – Employment – Community care – Education • Assistance can range from advice to going to court.
  11. 11. Questions (one each) • Can any solicitor dispense legal aid? • What types of organisations can apply for the quality mark? • What types of advice may people require help with?
  12. 12. CLS: types of help (civil) • Legal advice – (eligible people up to 2 hours free) • Help at court – (eligible party can have a solicitor or advisor speak on their behalf) • Approved family help – (dispute resolution and mediation) • Legal representation – See next slide
  13. 13. Legal representation • Available in court for claimant and defendant • Two types of assistance available: – Investigative help allows the strength of a claim to be assessed – Full representation covers legal representation in court proceedings
  14. 14. Eligibility for CLS • To qualify for legal aid certain conditions must be met and the applicant must not exceed certain financial limits: – Assistance only given if benefit to client and reasonable for matter to be funded
  15. 15. Financial Eligibility • Applicants monthly income must not exceed £2,288 • If income less than £2288 must have disposable income of less than £632 • Partners income can be taken inot account • Job seekers allowance automatically qualify
  16. 16. Questions (two each) 1. Who automatically qualifies for legal aid? 2. If I earn £3,000 a month do I qualify? 3. How many hours advice can I have if I do qualify? 4. What were the two types of legal representation? 5. What kind of help at court can I qualify for? 6. Will my partners income be taken into account when applying for legal aid?
  17. 17. Take a breather
  18. 18. Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) • Following the Access to Justice Act (date?) some cases that previously qualified now didn’t. – Personal injury – Now people either pay themselves which is expensive of take a “no win no fee” agreement – Introduced by Courts and legal Services Act 1990
  19. 19. CFAs • Written agreement between client and solicitor • Client does not have to pay fees if they lose • Client may have to pay costs of other side but can insure against this • If they win client may pay a fee to solicitor + added % (uplift fee) • Since Access to Justice: – Losing party may have to pay costs and uplift fee
  20. 20. CFA’s For Against • Remove expense of • Insurance to cover the case costs is expensive but without it may face • Provide a way of large bills proceeding that • Solicitors may only clients would not be able to afford accept strong cases • Those with weaker borderline cases may have to fund themselves
  21. 21. Questions (one each) • What is a CFA? • If I have a personal injury case can I claim Legal aid • What act allows me to claim the uplift fee from the other side?
  22. 22. Criminal Defence Service (Criminal) • Set up by LSC • CDS check and give contracts to solicitors – High quality work – Reasonable cost • Criminal legal aid covers – Those suspected or accused of a criminal offence
  23. 23. Human Rights Act 1998 • Requirement that people receive a fair trial • People must get a fair hearing • Not being able to afford Legal aid may jeopardise this
  24. 24. Types of help 1. Advice and assistance 2. Police station advice and assistance 3. Advocacy assistance 4. Representation in court 5. Duty solicitors
  25. 25. Advice and assistance • Service funds advice from solicitor • Includes: – giving general advice – Writing letters – Negotiating – Getting a barristers opinion • Means tested clients disposable income must not exceed £1,000 per month.
  26. 26. Police station advice and assistance • Anyone questioned over an offence whether arrested or not can get free legal advice from a contracted solicitor • Not means tested • Can choose – Duty solicitor – Own solicitor – Another solicitor from Police list
  27. 27. Advocacy assistance • Provides – Cost of solicitor preparing a case – Initial representation in certain proceedings in the magistrates and Crown Courts • Not means tested but merit: – Chances of dependent losing – If expert cross examination is needed – Will defendant be able to understand proceedings?
  28. 28. Representation in court • Those charged with or summoned for a criminal offence can apply for funding to cover the cost of a solicitor to prepare a defence and for representation in court • If a barrister is needed costs will be met. • Advice regarding appeal (where needed) is covered.
  29. 29. Duty solicitors • Available at Police station or magistrates’ court • Give free legal advice
  30. 30. Questions (one each) • Where might you find a duty solicitor? • Who would not qualify for advocacy assistance? • If my disposable income is £15,000 per month do I qualify for legal aid solicitors advice in a criminal matter? • Now ask each other one question!!