What is Legal Aid?
Legal aid is a system of government funding for those who cannot afford to pay their own legal costs. Legal aid is administered by the Legal Aid Agency. Dowse & Co have had Legal Aid accreditation for many years in housing and family law. Our contracts were awarded following in-depth audits by the Legal Aid Agency, who reported that the firm is “well organised and managed”.
When is Legal Aid Available?
Legal aid is available for Housing and Family law. Legal aid is also available for claims for breach of statutory duty, such as children harmed in care. It is not available for most personal injury claims and most family divorce. Most claims arising in disputes between businesses are also excluded from legal aid and likewise employment disputes are excluded (except some discrimination claims).
Will I qualify for Legal Aid?
To obtain legal aid you need to satisfy a merits test and a financial eligibility test. To pass the financial eligibility test your income and capital needs to be below a certain level.
You can check if you are eligible for public funding by
● using the Gov.uk eligibility calculator or
● contacting the Civil Legal Advice direct on 0345 345 4345.
Conditional Fee Agreements (“No Win, No Fee”)
Under a Conditional Fee Agreement we will only charge you for work done on your case if you win.
If you win, your opponent will usually agree to pay some of your legal costs or will be ordered to do so. We can then recover some of our costs from your opponent. You are likely to have to make some contribution towards your legal costs from any compensation recovered. Model Law Society Terms and Conditions apply setting out your rights and responsibilities under our Conditional Fee Agreement. We will only act under a Conditional Fee Agreement where we assess your case has merit and you have a reasonable prospect of success.
In many cases it is possible to arrange an “After the Event” insurance policy to protect you against liability for costs where your case is lost. Often we can arrange for the insurance policy premium to be payable only at the end of the case and only if you win.
Neither the success fee nor the insurance premium are recovered from your opponent if you win the case. Such fees will be deducted from your compensation.
Private Funding Arrangements and Legal Expenses Insurance
We explain how charges are calculated at the outset of the work, who will undertake it and their charging rate. We will provide our best estimate of the entire work, or the particular stage we are handling for you.
Where you already have existing legal expense cover we can explain whether your policy is suitable and can be used to fund your legal costs.
Divorce Case Funding
Divorce case funding: some new and affordable alternatives to legal aid.
Since 1st April 2013, legal aid to assist clients with divorce proceedings is no longer be available save in very exceptional instances. For all our clients not eligible for legal aid, we offer a pay-as-you-go package based on an hourly rate for the work that is to be done and provide estimates of costs for the required work with regular reviews of the same to keep you informed. We accept fees by affordable instalments during the lifetime of the case.
For clients who are seeking assistance with divorce or judicial separation only, then we offer a number of affordable and imaginative funding packages with set fees. Details are available on enquiry based on our standard fees and legal aid eligibility.
Our Personal Injury Team will be able to assist you to recover compensation. All such claims are funded on a “no-win, no-fee” basis. The Personal Injury Team is led by Patrick Spence. Patrick is an experienced personal injury lawyer and further specialises in cycle accident claims. He is accredited as a specialist by The Law Society Personal Injury Accreditation Scheme.
Our highly experienced probate team offer a free initial meeting to assess your needs. After that, fees are calculated on an hourly rate basis, from £165 to £250 per hour (plus VAT). Fixed fees are available in some cases from £1,000 plus VAT. The team assesses each case and its funding on an individual basis and will provide you with a clear quote at the start of your case and regular updates throughout the matter. More information can be found at our Costs and Service Transparency page.