Legal aid is the providing of help and support to people who are unable to afford legal representation on their own. This is often rendered to clients who do not possess sufficient funds to engage a lawyer of their own in order to be represented at court. Legal aid options are available across the world and are an accessible option to many but it is important to understand the various ways to get this help.
A popular way to obtain legal aid anywhere in the world should you require it, would be to find a lawyer or a law firm who is able and willing to act Pro Bono’ on your case. Pro Bono refers to a system where the advocate fights your case on a voluntarily basis and is not paid by the client. While Pro Bono is not the motto that every law firm or lawyer holds, there have been legal systems around the world which increasingly require lawyers or law firms to take up a number of Pro Bono cases. Furthermore, Pro Bono lawyers while not paid for handling the case, are not obliged to provide legal assistance to only those without sufficient funds.
Community Legal Clinics
Community legal clinics work under the basis of Pro Bono as well but are usually offered by a group of lawyers and law students. Many a time at community legal clinics, the person representing you in court before the legal system may be a novice law student or a lawyer with little experience. Nonetheless, community legal clinics are a trustworthy and reliable outlet to gain the support and legal advice that you would require. These institutions are common in many countries, especially in the United States and Europe.
There are a group of advocates either hired by the central legal board or by the legal aid division who are known as duty lawyers. The lawyers will then fully represent his client in court or is able to advise on legal matters, just as a regular lawyer would but without the requirement for the client to pay any fee. This practice is not always available in all countries around the world but do exist in many. These lawyers at times require a fee but is often a minimal sum where in instances, can only cost a dollar for the entire legal procedure. Duty lawyers in some countries are also dubbed “the one-dollar lawyer”, offering cheap yet quality legal services.
Online legal aid
With the increased use of the internet and among the wide array of services provided to it, online legal aid is one of them. Popular sites such as LawAnswers and Law Handbook are quickly moving on to be a successful yet cheap option for clients seeking legal advice. The benefit of such a system is that one could get the required information and advice he needs from anywhere in the world. However, a major disadvantage that is to be highlighted in online legal aid is the lack of physical legal representation. Without this option, should the client require it, will still need to find a lawyer who is willing to work Pro Bono to represent his case before the courts. For simple legal matters however, online legal aid sites work effectively well.