Crimimal Legal Aid
Posted by Higgins O Reilly on July 10 2013 @ 20:26
In Ireland if your constitutional right to legal representation applies and you don't have the means to pay for legal representation, then the State (or Government) is obliged to provide that legal representation.
The Supreme Court has held that there is a need to put the defendant on equal terms with the prosecution. Without legal representation, an ordinary person without any experience of criminal law and court proceedings would be at a serious disadvantage up against the legal resources of the prosecution. It is interesting to note that the Supreme Court decided that it is only in certain circumstances that somone has a constitutional right to legal representation. There is no absolute constitutional right to it.
The main legal aid available to someone accused of a crime is the legal aid provided under the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962. Criminal legal aid, unlikecivil legal aid, is free. No financial contribution is necessary.
If a judge considers that it is appropriate that you are granted criminal legal aid, you will be issued a legal aid certificate. However, in some cases a legal aid certificate may not be available. In those cases you may be entitled to apply for free legal representation under another scheme such as the Criminal Assets Bureau's Ad-Hoc Legal Aid Scheme or the Attorney General's Scheme.