How to get Pro-bono Legal aid

(10 Posts)
tikkaboti Sat 08-Feb-14 20:54:17

As I am currently living in the Refuge, I wanted to know how I can get hold of legal aid or keep the legal aid going on my own, as I am planning to move out of the refuge soon.

As I have been speaking to some of the ex-residents of this refuge, one of them informed me that the legal aid they were getting, suddenly stopped and their solicitor is now demanding charges from the client despite acknowledging that it's a pure case of domestic violence.

This is quite concerning for me, as I have been given help via my case-worker who introduced me to a solicitor and helped me; taking the legal matters to be dealt with by the solicitor. I'm worried, what if the same thing happens to me and I find myself struggling in the middle of unresolved legal matters?

DrMaybe Sat 08-Feb-14 20:57:43

You need to speak with your solicitor and he/she will be able to advise you exactly what the situation is.

There were changes brought in last year which dramatically reduced the eligibility for legal aid, however it is still available for cases where domestic violence is involved. However I think the DV needs to be on record so that there is evidence of it.

SweetPenelope Sat 08-Feb-14 21:04:27

DrMaybe is right. You need to speak to a solicitor.

You may be able to get free initial advice from a local Law Centre. The CAB should be able to tell you where to find them.

tikkaboti Sun 09-Feb-14 17:00:49

thanks everyone I'll go and talk to my solicitor about it then.
I have asked her to give an appointment to discuss our legal matter and hopefully she will give me an appointment soon.

Badgerlady Sun 09-Feb-14 17:25:00

Legal Aid and Pro Bono are two different things:

Legal Aid is where effectively the state pays your legal fees. This as mentioned above has been tightened up considerably recently. It is still available to victims of domestic violence but to qualify for the legal aid you need to have certain corroborative evidence. A solicitor would be able to assist with what is needed. It may be the other women you mention can't meet the new stricter criteria.

Pro Bono is where lawyers agree to act for free. You get a pro bono barrister via the Bar Pro Bono Unit. The CAB, a solicitor or a law centre can refer you. The Bar Pro Bono Unit will assess your case and see if there are any barristers you can advise/represent you in court.

As stated, a solicitor will be able to point you in the right direction.

pigletmania Sun 09-Feb-14 17:31:10

I remember your tread from a few months ago. How are you? You are so brave escaping your terrible situation. Gas things improved for you?

tikkaboti Mon 10-Feb-14 00:56:07

Thanks Badgerlady, U have cleared some of the confusion for me here. That's what I am thinking now that I need to approach my solicitor to discuss and clarify my doubts and point me in the right direction. If God forbid something like this happens to me, I dont want to be abandoned in the middle of the sea with nothing to look back on.

Pigletmania Im alright, and thanks for all your encouragement a few weeks back. Just planning to move out of the refuge before the allotted time they have given me over here. It's proving quite hectic for me to live here and I'm urging my case-worker to look for a suitable accommodation for me somewhere.

ZillionChocolate Mon 10-Feb-14 07:05:38

BadgerLady's advice is spot on. If you have a legal aid certificate and it ends for any reason, your solicitor will look to agree payment structure/ fees with you for any additional work. Your solicitor's advice is far more reliable about your circumstances than anecdotes of what have happened to other women.

If you get referred to the bar pro bono unit, it needs to be done as soon as possible. They're excellent but need about a month for your application to be considered.

pigletmania Mon 10-Feb-14 07:46:24

That's great tikka, you sound so much more happier, and you are an inspiration to your dd. she is your priority, everyone else is not, it's great tat you are carving a new and positive ofte for yourselves. I hope you find somewhere to live, I am sure you will, anything is better than your previous situation, good luck flowers

pigletmania Mon 10-Feb-14 07:47:01

Life sorry

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