Applying for Legal Aid (Civil)

The LEGAL AID LAW (1999 Revision) gives authority for Courts to grant free or subsidised legal aid as follows:

  • Civil: In the Grand Court for anybody who wishes to issue or defend proceedings.There is no legal aid for civil proceedings in the Summary Court (though it may be available for proceedings under the Children Law started by the DCFS).
  • Court of Appeal: The Court of Appeal Law allows the Court to grant legal aid for appeal purposes. In appeal cases an attorney’s opinion as to the merits of an appeal is required.
THE LEGAL AID RULES, 1997 prescribe the fees to be paid to legal practitioners and set out rules for the better carrying out of the Law.
All applicants must complete an application form and a statement of means. The form and statement of means may be down-loaded; it can be filled out on line but should be printed and signed before delivery to the legal aid office. [Civil Legal Aid Application Form]

Applicants will be interviewed by the Legal Aid Officer.

The Legal Aid Officer will verify important points such as employment, income from all sources, bank accounts, land ownership and claimed expenses.

  • Where relevant, proof of earnings and bank accounts will be requested.
  • In civil cases the applicant should be able to describe the nature of the proceeding; for example, debt, property dispute, personal injury claim. Copies of any relevant documents, such as medical reports or contracts will be required.
  • In divorce cases a history of the marriage such as length of marriage, when separated, children, reason for separation, any violence, value of matrimonial property. If violence is involved a copy of police reports will be required where applicable.
  • In Youth Court cases, the parent will be questioned as to his/her earnings.

If documents have been requested no further action will be taken until these documents are provided.

The Honourable Chief Justice has directed that legal aid for divorce will only be granted where there are allegations of recent domestic violence or children are at risk.

A parent may apply on behalf of an accused child. The statement of means must set out the parent’s means.