Is legal aid becoming redundant?

January 5, 2016

Hiring legal representation doesn’t come cheap, with some of the UK’s top solicitors charging over eight hundred pounds an hour. This is where legal aid can be of assistance. Legal aid is a pot of money that is funded by the public to help with legal costs. According to the official government website, to qualify for legal aid you must be able to prove at least one of the following:

  • You or your family are at risk of serious harm (e.g. if this was a domestic case)
  • You are at risk of becoming homeless
  • You face prison for a crime that you have been accused of
  • You are being discriminated against
  • You are in need of family mediation
  • You are bringing a case under the Human Rights Act

To qualify for legal aid you will also have to prove to the government that you cannot afford to pay for legal representation yourself. It sounds like a great way to help those less fortunate – but is it slowly becoming redundant? Let’s take a look.

Legal aid is aimed to help people who have low incomes or are on benefits, so it is a good way to ensure that everyone – regardless of their financial status – can have decent legal representation should they need it. So how do you know if your earnings are low enough to qualify for legal aid? The basic rule to qualify, if you live in England and Wales, is that your combined household income is less than £31,884 per month. You also cannot have more than £8,000 in savings. However, each case is assessed individually.

With the average UK salary being £26,500 – legal aid is still a relevant and necessary way to ensure that people on the lower end of the pay scale can get the legal representation that they need. This is especially necessary if the household, like many, is bringing in a sole wage.

Legal aid is there to help people who are in exceptional situations like a domestic violence case, for example. These rules are strict and rarely change. However, as every case is different, legal aid is decided on a case-by-case basis – so there are sometimes (however rarely) exceptions to the rules. But have we reached a point whereby legal aid can be considered redundant in the UK justice system in 2016?

The short answer is no. There were over a million representative cases in the courts that were as a direct result of application for legal aid in 2014/15 and although this total number has continued to drop for the past 10 years, there are still significant proportions, both layman and professional, that depend on legal aid within the UK justice system.

If you require legal aid, then Watson’s Solicitors can assist you in some limited circumstances. We will be happy to discuss this further with you, so please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01925 571212.

If you would like some more information on the government’s legal aid system, click here.

Contact Us

If you are interested or require any information on any of our services then please get in touch for an appointment on:

 01925 571 212
Mon-Fri: 9am - 5pm

Latest News

Unmarried couples urged to consider creating wills to protect loved ones

A Cheshire-based wills and probate solicitor believes it is imperative that unmarried couples create wills to protect loved ones and ensure their wishes are respected. Jennifer Stewart, a member of the private client department at Warrington’s Watsons Solicitors, has voiced concerns for those in long-term partnerships following the latest marriage statistics. Figures issued by the Office for […]

Watsons Solicitors is backing the Warrington Fund

Watsons Solicitors has thrown its support behind a bid to tackle poverty, disadvantage, and inequality across Warrington. The Bold Street-based law firm sponsored the launch of the Warrington Fund, which is an integral part of the Cheshire Community Foundation’s (CCF) strategic plans. Held at Parrs Bank, the latest arm of the CCF was unveiled, with […]

Budget announcement brings further changes for employers

A Cheshire-based employment law specialist is urging employers to take note of and understand the impact the budget announcement will have on their business. Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced the latest cut to National Insurance, which has been reduced by a further two per cent from ten to eight. National Insurance contributions by […]

Property expert predicts a promising 2024 for housing market

A Cheshire-based residential conveyancing specialist is optimistic the property market will enjoy a more stable 2024. Lauren Hosie of Warrington’s Watsons Solicitors is confident that there are better times ahead for those looking to buy and sell residential property after house prices rose 2.5 per cent in the year to January. The Bank of England’s […]

Watsons Solicitors

Watsons Solicitors is a trading name of Watsons Solicitors Warrington LLP a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales registered number OC386012 whose registered office is 13 Bold Street, Warrington, WA1 1DJ.

Watsons Solicitors Warrington LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority number 598547.

Website managed by Outwrite PR, an online reputation management agency
envelope-oclock-ophonefax linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram