A person is financially eligible for legal services when their disposable income and the value of their disposable capital (excluding the family home) are less than prescribed limits. These limits are determined by the Minister for Justice and Equality (by way of a set of Regulations, currently the Civil Legal Aid Regulations 1996-2017) and may change from time to time.
- Disposable income means income after income tax, PRSI, USC, PRD, allowances for children and spouses, and accommodation costs.
- Disposable capital means that outstanding loans are deducted from the applicant’s capital.
The process by which we decide what a person’s disposable income and disposable capital are is known as financial assessment or less formally means testing and must be carried out for all applications unless they are being passported (see below) or are otherwise specifically excluded from financial assessment.
EOS must be used to determine financial eligibility. Nonetheless, all staff should be familiar with the manual arrangements for means assessment, in order to understand the underlying concepts behind and procedure involved in assessing a person’s means. Any questions or queries should be referred to Legal Services.
Financial assessments/passporting should generally be carried out within 48 hours of receipt of a completed application. If the application is incomplete, è Procedure 3.5 should be followed.