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  • Paul Watson Solicitors
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Legal Aid

Our Solicitors in Middlesbrough can advise you on obtaining legal aid in both Criminal Defence and Family & Child Law cases.

Even if you are working or have savings, you could still qualify for Legal Aid.  Find out more on whether you might qualify using the Government’s legal aid calculator here.

Paul J Watson Solicitor holds legal aid franchises in both Family Law and Criminal Law. This means that for clients who qualify for Legal Aid, we can undertake your Family or Criminal Legal Aid case.

Generally, there are phrases that solicitors use, such as “Legal Help”, “Public Funding Certificate”, “Legal Funding Certificate” or “Legal Representation Certificate”.  All these phrases are simply for types of Legal Aid.

Whether or not you will be granted Legal Aid does not just depend on your means. The type of case is also a consideration, as is whether or not you are likely to win your case.  This would initially be assessed by either our Criminal Defence or Family teams.

 

Legal Aid in Family Law cases:-

From 1st April 2013, the Legal Services Commission (the governing body of legal aid) became known as the Legal Aid Agency.

The Government has made major changes regarding when legal aid will be available. Legal Aid funding is now only available for cases that involve domestic violence or child protection issues. Anyone applying for legal aid funding is required to provide specific evidence of domestic violence or child abuse to be able to make an application for funding. This evidence must be obtained in every case or legal aid will not be granted.

The evidence can include, but is not exhaustive of, the following;-

1. Evidence of an injunction or criminal charge;

2. A letter from a doctor or medical evidence;

3. Evidence from a social worker of child protection concerns;

4. Evidence of placement of a person in a refuge due to domestic violence.

There has also been changes to a person’s means benefit testing. Even if you were previously been entitled to legal aid, you may require reassessment of your means to see whether this is still the case.

Which cases can I get legal aid for?

These types of cases are still included in the legal aid scheme;-

·    Family Law cases involving domestic violence, forced marriage or child abduction;

·    Mental Health cases;

·    All Asylum cases;

·    Debt and housing matters where someone’s home is at immediate risk.

Which cases can’t I get legal aid for?

The Government has removed funding from entire areas of civil law, as follows;-

·    Private family law, such as divorce and custody battles;

·    Personal injury and some clinical negligence cases;

·    Some employment and education law;

·    Immigration where the person is not detained;

·    Some debt, housing and benefit issues.

We can help you with all such problems, whether or not you qualify for Legal Aid.  Our Family Law Solicitors will discuss your case with you initially by telephone to assess your case and provide information on costs.

 

Criminal cases:-

Everyone qualifies for free legal assistance when their case is at the Police Station stage, regardless of how much they earn. It’s only when your case goes further that you need to be concerned about Legal Aid.

Paul J Watson Solicitor specialises in Criminal Defence and RSPCA Defence cases and can advise you on whether or not you would qualify for Legal Aid. To do so, a means test must be undertaken, which takes into account the money you have coming in, and the money you have going out. If you can afford to pay to be represented at Court, then you must do so. Regardless, our Criminal Solicitors, Paul Watson and Damian Sabino, will see you for a free 30 minutes appointment to discuss whether you would qualify for Legal Aid, or alternatively can discuss this with you in a free telephone or skype consultation.

 Ideally, before you go to Court, you will need to file an application for Legal Aid, if you are successfully means tested, with our Criminal Solicitors in Middlesbrough. We will assist you in filling in the relevant forms and will file the relevant documents for you at Court. Please note that if you are not on Benefits, you may be asked to provide financial documents to support your application, such as copies of your bank statements and wage slips, or if you have your own business, copies of your most recent accounts.

Our Middlesbrough Legal Aid Solicitors at Paul J Watson would be pleased to discuss your case with you on 01642 293427. Alternatively, use our contact form, providing your contact details and a little about your case, and we will contact you.