Legal Help and Help at Court
Legal aid adviser can support with issue diagnosing, preparing documents, and negotiations, or help at court without presenting legal defence.
Which form of legal aid service to apply for
When considering which form of legal aid service a client should apply for, Legal Help and Help at Court should always be considered before an application for Legal Representation is made. As a rule, an application for an application for Legal Representation may be refused if it appears premature or if it appears more appropriate for the client to be assisted by some other level of service.
Under Legal Help a legal aid adviser, who can be a solicitor or an adviser working for an organisation with a legal aid contract or for the Civil Legal Advice (CLA) Gateway, can assist financially eligible clients by:
diagnosing the problem
providing advice, both written and oral
advising on small claims proceedings
obtaining information from third parties
negotiating with third parties
getting medical or other specialist reports
preparing a written case for a tribunal
A solicitor can also take full instructions from the client and submit an application for Legal Representation on their behalf when appropriate.
Help at court
Help at Court allows the client to be given assistance in relation to a particular court hearing. It is a form of service which may be available if a client does not have a legal defence to a case, but needs some help to present issues to the court. The legal aid adviser, who can be a solicitor or an adviser working for an organisation with a legal aid contract in the relevant area of law, can speak on the client’s behalf, but does not formally act as a representative in the proceedings and will not be on the court records as acting for the client.
Examples of where an adviser would be able to provide Help at Court to a client include in:
possession proceedings of the client's home where the rent arrears are not in dispute but it is unlikely that an immediate order for possession would be made and the only issue appears to be the terms on which a suspended or postponed order would be made
possession proceedings of the client's home on the grounds of rent arrears where the claim for possession is not disputed but there is a dispute over the amount owed
an application to suspend, or further suspend, a warrant for possession of the client's home
an application to adjourn a court hearing
Last updated: 26 March 2021