If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, you might be eligible for Legal Aid.
This is a government-funded scheme. The government will pay the fees of private lawyers, or sometimes for criminal cases will provide you with government lawyers who work for the Public Defence Service (“PDS”).
Usually, Legal Aid is provided as a loan. Except for some certain circumstances, you’ll have to pay it back (see: “Repaying Legal Aid”).
This chapter explains how to apply for Legal Aid, how it’s decided whether you’ll get it, whether you’ll have to pay any of it back, and what you can do if you’re refused Legal Aid.
All Legal Aid decisions are made by Legal Aid Services at the Ministry of Justice. Legal Aid Services make decisions independently from the Ministry of Justice and the government. For more information and their contact details, see: “Where to go for more support” below.