This chapter explains:
The aim of the Legal Services Act 2011 is to promote access to justice by providing legal services for people who have “insufficient means” and by delivering those services in the most effective and efficient way.
The main way the Act does this is through the legal aid scheme, through which the government pays the fees of private lawyers to represent people who can’t afford to pay themselves. Legal aid is usually provided as a loan. In certain circumstances, no repayment may be required.
The legal aid scheme covers both criminal and civil (including family) cases.
Another way the government provides legal services under the Act is through the Public Defence Service (PDS). The PDS consists of lawyers employed by the Ministry of Justice to represent criminal defendants who can’t afford a lawyer themselves.