Legal Aid Advice
It’s no secret that legal advice and services can be terribly expensive. There have been countless legal cases in which two parties have waged legal war against each, running up legal bills worth millions of pounds each.
Lawyers do expensive work, and he or she who can afford the most expensive legal team will most likely have access to the best advice – ultimately, the advantage lies with the party with the most money, even in matters of law and justice.
However, there are ways for those who can’t afford an expensive lawyer to get the legal advice and representation they need. One of the most common and important sources of legal advice is through Legal Aid.
What is Legal Aid?
Legal aid allows people with insufficient resources to have access to legal advice and/or representation, paid for by public funding. Legal aid in the UK is funded by the Legal Services Commission, which is in turn sponsored by the Ministry of Justice.
The UK is the biggest provider of publicly funded legal advice in the world – £2.1 billion was spent on Legal Aid in the UK in 2012.
An amount of money such as this may seem vast, but Legal Aid pays for a wide array of services. Legal Aid can pay for a claimant or defendant to receive legal advice when their case reaches court – it can also provide legal help much earlier than this, when a suspect is being interviewed at a police station, for instance.
Is Legal Aid Free?
Legal aid is not simply free legal advice and representation – you may still find that you have to pay some of the costs of your case.
In some circumstances, you may have to pay back some or all of the costs that Legal Aid covered during your case, particularly if you were awarded money as a result of the case, or if you were convicted of criminal charges which you sought Legal Aid to defend against.
Legal Aid Cuts
Legal Aid faced a number of cuts in April 2013, as the government aims to cut down on its spending. Naturally, this has sparked worries that fewer will have access to legal help and justice that they may sorely need.
Some have even warned that cutting Legal Aid will not really save any money, as it will only lead to individuals attempting to defend themselves without the legal guidance that Legal Aid previously would have given them. This could lead to court hearings and cases being dragged out for longer than is necessary, placing a new burden upon the public purse.