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BAR FREE LEGAL SERVICE SCHEME

Types of Cases with which the BFLSS can help
Application Form

6. BFLSS can help by putting members of the public in touch with barristers on the Panel who can:
give advice either by way of a written advice or opinion or in conference on a legal problem; or
represent them in any court or in any tribunal where legal representation is permitted.

7. Applications for advice or representation are considered by a Management Committee. Whilst every effort will be made to offer advice or representation in an appropriate case, the resources of BFLSS are limited and whether assistance should be given is a matter for the Committee in its discretion.

8. Subject to the above, the factors which will normally be taken into account when deciding whether to refer a case to a Panel member are:
 

Does the case appear to be one which deserves assistance?

 

This will involve some assessment of the merits of the applicant’s case.

 

Can the applicant (or his /her family) afford legal assistance?
 

BFLSS is designed to help those who cannot reasonably afford the legal assistance which they need and who are not eligible for legal aid or other forms of help with legal expenses (e.g. under an insurance policy or through a union). Applicants who are ineligible for legal aid on financial grounds must provide, in their application, a brief explanation of their financial resources (income/savings/expenditure) and those of their family or others from whom they might reasonably be expected to look for help. Applicants who are unsure whether they are ineligible for Legal Aid or assistance from a union or under an insurance policy should check before making an application.

If an Applicant has applied for Legal Aid and has been refused, either on the grounds of financial ineligibility or on the merits, he / she must provide information about the decision refusing Legal Aid and also any appeal against that decision. BFLSS will not normally provide assistance if it appears that a person may be eligible for Legal Aid.

Does it appear that the services of a barrister are needed?
 

The services that a barrister can offer may not always be the most appropriate in a particular case. In some cases a solicitor or a welfare agency may be better equipped to help. The principal expertise of a barrister is in representing clients at hearings in courts and tribunals; and giving specialist legal advice. Barristers do not have the resources to carry out factual enquiries or to deal with correspondence or court procedures on a client’s behalf.

 

What work is involved?
  Members of the Panel will normally only be available to devote a maximum of three days work to a case. This should be enough for most types of advisory work and for representation in courts and tribunals for short cases or hearings. But it means that BFLSS will not be able to provide a barrister to advise on a continuing basis over a long period or to provide assistance in long cases in a court. Assistance is more likely to be possible in more complex cases if a solicitor or other agency is involved and can deal with some aspects of the work. Wherever possible an applicant should make an application with the assistance of a solicitor or other agency who is willing to remain involved with the case.


9. Where representation in a court or tribunal is involved, sometimes it would not be possible for a barrister to act unless a solicitor is prepared to assist. In some cases the BFLSS may be able to find a solicitor who is prepared to act for free but that cannot be guaranteed.

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