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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Law
  • Essay length: 2070 words

Examine The Ways in Which a Person Wishing to Pursue a Claim in Civil Law May Obtain and Finance Legal advice and Representation

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Examine The Ways in Which a Person Wishing to Pursue a Claim in Civil Law May Obtain and Finance Legal advice and Representation Within the civil courts there are several ways by which people can obtain free legal advice. These include solicitors who may offer free legal advice, however, the time period may be restricted to half an hour or so, and this is usually done to attract customers. Some solicitors may charge a small fee, or not offer this service at all. Law centres offer legal advice to people in great need, i.e. their income is low, etc... Law centres deal mainly with claims related to welfare, discrimination, housing and employment matters, and are usually very accessible and offer suitable opening hours where possible. Citizens' Advice Bureaux are available throughout the country and offer a substantional amount of free legal advice to everyone. This service is very useful for free legal advice as Citizens' Advice Bureaux's are placed within many very accessible areas around the country. If any person is a member of a trade union or motoring organisation etc... they can usually get free legal advice.

Middle

All clients wanting legal representation from the CLS are subject to a means test, having to have a disposable income of £160 per week (£8000 per annum) and a disposable capitol of below £6750, and a contribution will be required if either fall above the limits. Certain cases have been removed form the legal aid system including personal injury except clinical negligence, defamation and business disputes. To offer support funding towards a case under a conditional fee agreement, however this does not apply if it is a small claims case or if there is any other form of alternative funding available to the client, such as insurance. How Far Does This Provision Achieve a Satisfactory Service? There are many advantages of the AJA reforms. These include that there is now a greater access to advice and justice from the Access to Justice act 1999. There is greater allocation of resources, meaning funds can be designated within to certain areas that the government deem the most suitable and beneficial towards society, whereas in the past this was not possible to do this. Conditional fee agreements ensure that there is more money for other areas of law and it means that more people can enforce their rights, as it is much cheaper than taking a claim through a court and paying out of their own pockets.

Conclusion

The system at present is unsuitable to the vast majority of the country, with many places opening at hours that are inconvenient to the general public. As the boundaries of the means tests are set so low, there are also few people who qualify for free legal aid as the boundaries are set close to income support level, when the costs of taking a claim to court are so high. It is however quite hard for the government to raise the boundaries, as it is hard to obtain the money to pay for more people to have free legal representation and support. Although there are many advantages to the current system, the disadvantages do outweigh them, and so a new system that is more suitable should be introduced, or improvements to the current system brought in. It is however hard to raise enough money for raised boundaries on means tests, and it is also hard to think of a suitable replacement for the current system as all ideas will exclude or not aid some or groups of people. So until a newer system that can be introduced to offer free legal aid to more people without exceeding the budget, the current system is suitable, but will need to be improved or changed for the benefit of all.

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