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Access to Justice

 

Garda Station Legal Advice Scheme

The Garda Station Legal Advice Scheme was introduced in 2001 to provide free legal advice to persons detained in Garda Stations who qualified for legal aid under specific eligibility criteria. The Scheme was originally administered by the Courts Policy Section of the Department of Justice and Equality with the Legal Aid Board taking over the administration of the Scheme on the 1st October 2011.

1. Consultations

The Garda Station Legal Advice Scheme provides that consultations with solicitors will be paid for by the State where:

      > the person has a legal entitlement to consult with a solicitor, and
      > the person's means are insufficient to enable him/her to pay for such consultation (see eligibility section below), and
      > the person is detained in a Garda station for the purpose of the investigation of an offence under the provisions of:
              > Section 30 of the Offences against the State Act 1939, as amended by the Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998, or
              > Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984*, or
              > Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996, or
              > Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007.

*It should also be noted that persons who are detained under Sections 16 & 17 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2010 or Section 42 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999 are also eligible to apply for advice under the Garda Station Scheme. Detainees under these legislative provisions are dealt with as though they had been detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 (as amended).

2. Extension Hearings

The Garda Station Legal Advice Scheme was extended, with effect from 1st July 2007, to provide for payments to solicitors in respect of extension hearings held in the District Court where the Gardaí wish to extend the time limit for holding suspects under the Offences Against the State Acts, the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996 and under the Criminal Justice Act 2007. The fee payable in respect of such hearings is that which applies in respect of first day appearances in the District Court under the statutory Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. Payment in respect of extension hearings will be made in respect of hearings held on or after 1st July, 2007.

3. Eligibility under the Garda Station Legal Advice Scheme

Persons who are detained under the above mentioned legislation and are either in receipt of social welfare payments or whose gross annual earnings are less than €20,316 p.a. are eligible to receive assistance under the Scheme. All applicants who wish to avail of the Scheme will be required to formally request access to the Scheme by way of completion of the Form GLAS 1. This Form, which was introduced in May 2012, will be available to detainees in a Garda Station, through their solicitor or from the Criminal Legal Aid Section of the Legal Aid Board.

With a view to assisting all parties who may interact with the Scheme, the Legal Aid Board has prepared a Guidance Document which provides a background to the Garda Station Scheme along with information on the completion and processing of the GLAS 1 Claim Form. All interested parties are encouraged to read this Guidance Document and to utilise the advice set out in it.

It should be noted that detainees in Garda Stations who apply for legal advice under the Scheme but who do not satisfy the above criteria will be held personally liable for any costs associated with the delivery of the legal advice provided to them.

The Legal Aid Board will not consider or process claims for payment of solicitor’s fees in respect of detainees who do not satisfy the stated eligibility criteria. The Legal Aid Board reserves the right to investigate the personal circumstances of applicants to ensure that any information provided by the applicant is accurate.


In addition, it is the policy of the Legal Aid Board to seek reimbursement of the cost of any legal advice provided to a person who is later found to have made a false declaration under the application Form GLAS 1.

4. Fees Payable under the Scheme

A fee is payable to a solicitor in respect of each eligible person who is detained in a Garda Station and who is advised by the solicitor. There is a limit placed on the number of consultations that will attract a payment under the Scheme and details of these are set out in Section 5 below.

Where appropriate, travelling expenses are paid by reference to the distance from the solicitor’s office to the Garda Station or the place from where the solicitor commences the journey to the Garda Station, whichever distance is the lesser. One set of travelling expenses only is paid for each visit to a Garda Station irrespective of the number of persons advised.

The relevant consultation fees and travelling expense rates payable to solicitors under the Scheme can be accessed through the following documents

(a) Consultation fees/travelling expenses current rates
(b) Consultation fees/travelling expenses historical rates

These rates are updated as appropriate and required by the Minister for Justice and Equality.


5. Number of Consultations payable under the Scheme

The maximum number of consultations payable under the Scheme is as follows;

(a) Section 4, Criminal Justice Act, 1984, as amended
3 consultations over the total period of detention where a person is detained pursuant to the provisions of section 4.

(b) Section 30, Offences against the State Act 1939, as amended
7 consultations over the total period of detention subject to a maximum of 3 paid consultations in a calendar day.

(c) Section 2, Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996, as amended
11 consultations over the total period of detention subject to a maximum of 3 paid consultations in a calendar day.

(d) Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007
11 consultations over the total period of detention subject to a maximum of 3 paid consultations in a calendar day.


6. Applications/Claims

The detainee will initially apply for assistance under the Scheme in the Garda Station by requesting access to a solicitor to provide legal advice to him / her. Eligibility under the Scheme will be as set out as above. The applicant will be provided with a Form GLAS1 and they will be required to complete Section 1 of that form. An applicant for assistance under this Scheme must provide their Personal Public Service Number (PPSN/RSI number), date of birth and indicate whether they are (i) in employment or (ii) in receipt of Social Welfare payments. The applicant will also consent to the Legal Aid Board seeking any report it considers necessary from the Department of Social Protection, the Revenue Commissioners or any other public body who is likely to be in a position to provide assistance to verify the accuracy of the information provided as to their means.

Section 2 of the
Form GLAS1 will be completed by the solicitor and, where appropriate, certified by An Garda Síochána. It should be noted that fees payable in respect of legal advice services provided for under this Scheme are paid to firms of solicitors/sole practitioners rather than individual solicitors in firms who undertake visits. Claims received from individual employee solicitors will be returned for correct submission by the solicitor’s firm.

7. Administration of the Garda Station Legal Advice Scheme.

Since the 1st October 2011 the Scheme has been administered by the Legal Aid Board. Accordingly, all correspondence, claims for payment and queries should be addressed to that office as set out below.

In submitting claims to the Legal Aid Board,
it should be noted that all fields on the Form GLAS 1 are mandatory. Forms that are not fully completed or certified will not be processed and will be returned to the solicitor. For their own information purposes, solicitors should retain a record of all claims submitted for payment. Fully completed and certified GLAS 1 forms should be forwarded to:

Legal Aid Board
Garda Station Legal Advice Scheme
Criminal Legal Aid Section
47 Upper Mount Street
Dublin 2.

Phone: 01 6441913

E-mail:
gardascheme@legalaidboard.ie



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