Legal Aid is the provision of assistance to persons otherwise unable to afford legal representation and access to the court system. Legal Aid is regarded as central in providing access to justice by ensuring equality before the law. The right to Counsel and the right to a fair trial.
If you are charged with a criminal offence, you may apply to obtain legal representation. An Attorney will be assigned to your case.
Everyone including persons detained or charged with an excepted offence can be granted Legal Aid under the Duty Counsel scheme. This is so even if you intend to get your own Attorney at a later stage. You will qualify for Legal Aid if the court or any other person authorized by the Legal Aid Act decides that you are unable to afford legal representation. The decision is taken after a means test.
No. The only offences for which Legal Aid is not granted are:
1. Offences under the Dangerous Drugs Act for manufacturing, importing, exporting, taking preparatory steps to export, selling or otherwise dealing in any dangerous drug and being in possession, in excess of the specified amounts;
2. Any offence not punishable with imprisonment;
3. For Petty Session Matters, Legal Aid is granted to adults only at the Duty Counsel level. Assistance is granted where children are charged with such offences and where no adult co-accused appears. Legal Aid is provided at the Children’s Court as it is presided over by a Parish Court Judge and not Justices of the Peace.
You should apply as soon as possible after you have been charged with a criminal offence.
There are three easy steps.
Complete an application form from any legal Aid Clinic, Court’s office or the Legal Aid Council. If you are under 18 years, your parent or guardian or any other adult may apply on your behalf.
The Court Office which is dealing with your case; or The nearest Legal Aid Clinic; or The Registrar of the Gun Court; or The Registrar of the Supreme Court; or The Registrar of the Court of Appeal; or The Legal Aid Council may require proof of your income or savings, earnings and expenses
A successful applicant will have an Attorney assigned to their case. The Attorney will attend court for the matter.
Please Note: You may be asked to make a contribution towards your legal fee; You will be provided with a bank voucher to pay your contribution at any Scotia Bank Branch; If you cannot afford it, you will not be asked to pay.