Access to the Legal Justice System

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  • Access to the Legal Justice System
    • Getting advice
      • Law centre - free, non-means tested service that provides legal advice in areas where there are few solicitors.
      • Helplines - provide advice on issues such as debt/home at risk. housing/homeless or at risk of eviction, domestic abuse, family issues, special education needs and discrimination
      • Citizens Advice Bureaux - provides advice on social rights and gives information on which local solicitors do legal aid work or give cheap or free initial interviews. The advice they give includes entitlement to benefits, debt, consumer, housing and employment.
      • Trade union - free legal advice on employment problems. There are also trade unions for other problems like personal injury e.g. Unite.
      • Instances where you can't use these methods include appeal cases, if a contract has been breached, or if you're suing someone.
    • Funding
      • Private
        • For civil cases you can use insurance. There's before the event insurance, such as car insurance, where there is no legal claim but these companies offer cover for help with legal fees if one does.
          • Conditional fees mean  you don't need to pay your lawyer if you lose the case. (But you still have to pay the other side.)
        • For civil and criminal cases you can just pay of a lawyer out of your own pocket, but this is very expensive.
      • Public
        • For criminal cases there is legal aid which means it is the government who pays for a solicitor to represent you. Legal aid is unlikely to be provided in civil cases because of fund cuts.
    • Access to justice is expensive, as shown by the Cockbone v Atkinson (2000) case, where it took 12 years for a divorce to pas and the legal bill was millions of pounds, showing the longer it is, the more expensive it is.


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