The legal Aid Board is a statutory body established under the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995. The functions of the Board are:
This Board consists of a chairperson and twelve other members. At least five of the members of the Board must be women and five must be men. Two members of the Board must be barristers, two must be solicitors and two must be members of the staff of the Board.
The Board has a network of full-time and part-time law centres located throughout the country. The Board has also established a panel of solicitors and barristers in private practice who provide legal aid and advice under the Act. If a barrister is required to deal with your case, the Legal Aid Board will appoint one to represent you.
In February 1999, the Board established the Refugee Legal Service (RLS) as a separate office to provide an independent legal service to asylum seekers at all stages of the asylum process.
In October 2011, the Board took over responsibility for the administration of the Garda Station Legal Advice Scheme from the Department of Justice. Under the scheme free legal advice is provided to those detained in Garda Stations who qualified for the scheme.
In November 2011, the Family Mediation Service was transferred to the Board. It had previously been part of the Family Support Agency. The service helps couples who have decided to separate or divorce, or who have already separated, to negotiate their own terms of agreement, while addressing the needs and interests of all involved.
The Legal Aid Board tends to provide legal aid and legal advice in the following areas mainly:
The Board can give legal advice in most areas. It is prohibited from providing legal aid in the following categories of cases:
Note: Refers to a situation where a person is bringing a case on behalf of someone else or in an official capacity.
The Board provides legal aid or advice to a complainant in certain criminal cases involving prosecution for a range of sexual offences, including rape, aggravated sexual assault and incest. A complainant is the person making the complaint.
It also provides legal advice in relation to criminal matters to alleged victims of human trafficking.
There is a network of Legal Aid Centres throughout Ireland. The headquarters of the Legal Aid Board is located in Co. Kerry and can be contacted as follows:
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.