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The pilot online application system

Since early 2017, we have made the facility to apply online available to applicants at a small number of selected  law centres. As of 2nd January 2018 this is being extended to all law centres. The online application will be available on the Board’s website at www.legalaidboard.ie

The online application is suitable for most people who have access to a personal computer. While a scanner is not required, it is recommended that applicants using the online application submit documentation electronically to the Board. The online application was not designed for use on a mobile device and users may encounter difficulties, particularly on devices with smaller screens.

The pilot will be monitored by Head Office with a view to making any refinements which might be needed in these procedures.

In this Handbook, we will point out the differences between the online and paper applications processes at each stage

What the online application can and cannot do

The online application will automatically create on EOS:

  • A person record for the applicant in the law centre chosen by the applicant when submitting the online application
  • A case
  • A person record for the other party, if one is needed.
  • A PDF containing all the details needed for the financial assessment

This will substantially shorten the amount of time needed to process an application for civil legal aid and advice.

Who cannot use the online application

The following cannot use the online application:

  • Applicants for legal services resident outside the jurisdiction
  • Any other applicants whose application is processed centrally by Head Office
     

Email referring to the online application

Dear Mr Smith,

When we spoke by telephone you indicated that you would like to make an application for civil legal advice and/or aid.

You can find our online application here: <insert URL of online application>

You need to fully complete all parts of the online application that apply to you. If you do not, we might have to come back to you and ask you for more information.

Documents we need to process your application

Once you complete the online application process, you will need to send me, by return email, proof of your income:

If your income isYou need to supply us with a scan of:
Social welfareA social welfare payment slip or letter from Intreo telling us what your payments are
Salary/wages from a jobMost recent payslip

A business (sole trader or partnership)
Most recent notice of assessment from Revenue, or audited accounts.

You should also send me a scan of your photo ID (passport or driving licence) and a household bill or other letter from a utility or public body with your address on it. Please include in the subject line the application number that you receive when you submit your application. Documents should be sent in Adobe PDF format, if your software can generate PDFs.

If you do not have access to a scanner, you can make photocopies and send them to me by post. If this is not possible you should bring the documents to the law centre and we will copy them and return them to you. You may be in a position to use your mobile phone to scan and email these documents to us. Many mobile phones have scanning software either as an installed or downloaded app.  If you are doing this you should scan to PDF and email to the law centre’s email address.  Do not send original documents in the post.

Sometimes we might ask you to provide full details of your income or assets. I will let you know if you need to do this.

Next steps

Once your application is completed, and we have received your proof of income, we will check if you can get civil legal aid and advice. If we decide that you can get civil legal aid or advice, we will then look at the type of legal problem you have. For some types of problem we will give you an immediate appointment. For others, you might have to wait some time before we can give you an appointment. For this reason it is important that you explain fully the type of problem you have when completing the application form.

We also need to check if the other person is not a client of the law centre. If they are, we might need to send your application to a different law centre. We might, depending on what your legal problem is, be able to refer you to a private solicitor instead.

Contributions towards legal services

When you see a solicitor you will usually have to pay a contribution. This is usually at least €30, but depending on your income might be more. If you need to go to Court, and if we grant you legal aid, you will have to pay another contribution.  This will usually be at least €130, but depending on your income and assets might be more. If your case is against the Child and Family Agency, and they are applying for an order to take your children into care or supervise them in your own home, you won’t need to pay a contribution.

[You indicated in our conversation that your problem relates to your family.] [If your problem relates to your family, it might be suitable for family mediation] [We run a family mediation service that helps couples to resolve disputes about family matters. I am enclosing a leaflet which explains more about family mediation. Your nearest family mediation office is INSERT ADDRESS and can be contacted at INSERT PHONE NO.]

If you have any questions, or need assistance completing the online application, please contact me at the address below.

Finding online applications

Every day at open of business and again at 2:30pm, a staff member should check for new online applications in EOS.

You can find online applications in the Case Administrator Work Queue. On your EOS home screen, click the “Go to My Case Administrator Work Queue” link:

My-case-administrator

You will see on the sidebar on the left hand side of the screen a list of case types with “Allocations” and “Reallocation” figures beside them. One of these case types will be “Online Applications”. This “Allocations” figure for online applications tells you how many online applications have been received.

Click it to display only online applications.

Then click the case number to view the online application.

Setting up the case

You will notice that a Person and Case have already been set up for the applicant. The case will be in the APP001.Application Received workflow. If the applicant chose to enter details of an Other Party, a Person will be set up for them also.

The case will be given the case type “Online Application”. Note that an Online Application is a type of Enquiry case and won’t appear in reports until assigned a case type.

Before you work on the case, you should assign yourself as a Resource. Then  change the case type to “Non-Family Law Enquiry” or “Family Law Enquiry” as appropriate. Click the twisty beside the person’s name to view the Case Details:

Online Application - Case Details

You will notice in the above case that the person has clearly indicated that they want a divorce – you can change the case type to “Family Law Enquiry”. At this point the case remains an enquiry and you should not change the case to the Divorce case type, until the person has been financially assessed and placed on the applications record.

The reason we do this is to remove the case from the list of pending online applications.

Contact via email

You will notice that the case description also includes details of any pending court date and whether the person wishes to be contacted by email or not. We think that most users of the online application form will wish to be contacted by email, but if a person answers “no” to this question, you should contact the person by phone or letter.

Applications from previous clients

The online application will always create a new person record in EOS for an applicant.

In order to ensure that all cases belonging to the same applicant are retained under the same person record, the case created by the online application should be closed.  A new case with the same details from the online application form can then be created under the original person record.  A copy of the online application PDF should be saved locally and uploaded to the case.

Unfortunately, there is no way to delete the duplicate person records created by this process.