Legal Funding

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Outline how advice and representation can be funded

‘Access to Justice means everyone should have access to advice and assistance from lawyers.’ (Classroom material p.1) Legal advice is important to civil cases but even more in criminal cases where liberty of a person is at stake because they would have committed a crime and they might go to prison for it therefore in criminal cases it’s vital for a person to receive legal funding. Poor and less educated people are denied access to justice as it is difficult for them to get advice or for them to be offered assistance. Some people may not get access to legal advice and assistance as they may have ‘unmet legal need’. ‘This means that the person has a legal problem that could possibly be solved through law, but for whatever reason that person is unable to get the help they require.’ (Classroom material p.1) If a person requires legal advice or assistance they might not be able to get it as they may lack knowledge as to where the nearest solicitor is or might not have enough knowledge as to what the firm does. Some people however might feel intimidated by dealing with lawyers. Also the cost the solicitors charge is quite high as they ‘charge £100-£500 per hour depending on the size and type of the firm.’ (Classroom material p.1) The access to Justice Act 1999 consists of two schemes which are: the community legal service which deals with civil legal funding and the criminal defence service which deals criminal legal funding. The community legal service deals with civil matters. They offer legal advice and assistance for the case. This is means tested which means that your case will be accessed according to your financial eligibility. They offer legal presentation which covers all the case and advocacy is provided if needed. This is means and merit tested; merits involve assessing the likelihood of the case winning. Help at court is offered to allow a solicitor to speak on behalf of the person through the...
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