This section considers the statutory tests to be applied when determining whether it is in the interests of justice to make summary criminal legal aid available.
You may consider that a custodial sentence is likely upon conviction. If this is likely, you should address why in your application for legal aid with reference to the following:
Where loss of livelihood is said to be likely, you should provide detailed information to back up this up. You should tell us if:
If your client has been unemployed for some time and is taking no positive steps to seek work, we are unlikely to consider this to be a factor.
We will also consider factors outside of employment where a conviction may adversely affect your client, such as:
You should consider whether there are complexities in law and / or procedure which you are required to present to ensure fairness to your client.
Examples of such complexities:
One of the statutory factors we have to take into account is the inability of your client to understand the proceedings or state their own case. This may be because of their:
We will consider this to be a reasonable factor where your client:
This list is not exhaustive. If you think that there are other issues, you should tell us what these are.
Where appropriate, you should give details of any medical assistance or support your client receives. Please demonstrate:
It is not enough to satisfy this factor by providing an argument that your client:
It may be in the interests of someone other than your client, that your client is legally represented. Examples of situations where this factor is valid are:
It must be shown that your client’s defence does not appear to be frivolous.
You must provide us with sufficient information to enable us to assess this:
The absence of a defence is not a bar to legal aid being granted as there may be other factors present which indicate a need for legal representation.
The final statutory factor is the fact that your client has been remanded in custody pending trial.
The fact your client has been remanded in custody may advance the argument to provide your client with legal representation as: