We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our Privacy & Cookie policy statement for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Legal aid service

Section 28(5A)

Legal aid is available to a complainant in certain sexual assault cases where the prior sexual history of the complainant is being raised by a person accused of one or more of the following offences:-

  • A rape offence;
  • Aggravated sexual assault;
  • Aiding abetting, counselling or procuring aggravated sexual assault;
  • Aiding abetting, counselling or procuring attempted aggravated sexual assault;
  • Incitement to aggravated sexual assault; and
  • Conspiring to commit any of the foregoing offences.

This service means that the Board will appoint a solicitor and barrister to represent a complainant in court when the issue of previous sexual history is being raised.  A person who seeks to avail of this service does not have to undergo the means test, the merits test or to pay a financial contribution.  Where these cases are heard in Dublin, representation will be provided by Dublin law centres (or the law centre that is local to the court in the event of the trial taking place outside of Dublin).

It is important to note that this service to complainants is provided under the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 and is not criminal legal aid. Defendants in rape cases apply for criminal legal aid as usual and the Board doesn’t deal with this aspect.