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Applying for legal aid in an emergency

Regulation 10(1)

Where a certificate needs to be issued very quickly, you can apply for an emergency legal aid certificate.

We may grant an emergency certificate where:

  • it is satisfied that it is essential in the interests of preserving the applicant's rights to issue the certificate and
  • that it would cause severe hardship to him or her if the ordinary procedure for the granting of a certificate were followed. 

The emergency procedure was created when applications for legal aid certificates were made by post and the means testing procedure was carried out manually. Nowadays, EOS makes it quick and easy to assess an applicant’s financial eligibility, and allows an application for a legal aid certificate to be transmitted to Legal Services instantaneously.

It is considered that the circumstances where a legal aid certificate would be issued without assessing an applicant’s financial eligibility would be very rare, and will apply only in situations where an applicant needs to go to Court within hours.

Nonetheless, the procedure is still in force.  Where it is decided to use the procedure:

  1. Fill out an application form for an emergency legal aid certificate
  2. Scan the form and upload it to EOS
  3. In the event EOS is not available, scan and e-mail the form to Legal Services
  4. Call Legal Services and alert the HEO in your Unit that an emergency application for legal aid has been made
  5. If it is decided to grant the certificate, we will issue an emergency legal aid certificate to the law centre either via EOS or by e-mail.
  6. The applicant must sign the undertaking below.

Agreement in relation to the emergency certificate issued to an applicant under Paragraph 10 of the Regulations

I agree to abide by the conditions on which an emergency legal aid certificate has been granted to me and to pay any contribution assessed on the basis of my statement of means, and any other payment for which I may become liable in connection with the grant of the certificate, including any additional contribution for which I may become liable on the basis of a more detailed assessment of my means which the Legal Aid Board may arrive at following the issue of the emergency certificate.

If it subsequently transpires that I am not eligible for legal aid on financial grounds, I undertake to pay the Legal Aid Board the total cost incurred by the Board in providing me with legal services.

SIGNED ______________________________

DATE ________________________________