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Funding your claim
What is Public Funding (Legal Aid)?
Legal Aid is public money intended to provide access to legal representation for people who do not have the means to pay privately.
Legal Aid is administered by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) and is tightly controlled.
Legal Aid is not available for Personal Injury claims but it is still available in medical negligence claims, providing the case meets the LSC’s criteria.
Who is eligible for Legal Aid?
Unfortunately, Legal Aid is not as readily available as it once was. In order to be eligible, a claim must satisfy the ‘costs / benefit test’ and the individual must satisfy the ‘means test’.
The Costs / Benefit test is only met where the costs of a case do not exceed the benefit to be obtained (the damages award), and is closely connected to the prospects of success in the case. That is, the higher the prospects of success, the higher the costs can be; however, the Legal Aid costs of investigating the claim should still not exceed the damages.
Irrespective of the prospects of the case or the costs of investigating, the person applying must be financially eligible for Legal Aid. There are fewer people who will be eligible for Legal Aid than previously. The LSC will take into account the number of minor children that you have, your income, and any benefits that you and your partner receive.
If you receive means tested benefits (such as income support) you will be automatically financially eligible for Legal Aid.
In all cases, in order to qualify for Legal Aid, the case must exceed £10,000.00 (ten thousand) in value. In addition, you should have exhausted any complaint procedure available (e.g. the NHS Complaints Procedure) unless there are good reasons why you haven’t.
Following assessment by the LSC, you may be eligible but they may ask for a contribution each month. Our Medical Lawyers will explain this to you should this be the case.
Will I have to pay my Legal Aid back?
It is important to remember that Legal Aid is not always free. If your case is successful, the Defendant will pay your Legal costs. Any money that the LSC have paid out will be recouped. In some circumstances certain costs may not be recoverable from the Defendant. The LSC will still require this to be recouped and will do so. This is known as the Statutory Charge. Your Medical Lawyer will explain this in depth. It is very rare that this will apply.
Can all Lawyers apply for Legal Aid?
No. Only those with a Legal Aid Franchise may do so. Less than 1% of Lawyers are entitled to apply for Legal Aid funding. Only Lawyers who are Medical Negligence specialists can obtain a Legal Aid franchise.
Our Lawyers can, and will, apply for Legal Aid on your behalf should your case meet the criteria.