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Legal Aid Board

Introduction

The legal Aid Board is a statutory body established under the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995. The functions of the Board are:

  • To provide legal aid and legal advice in civil cases (i.e., non-criminal cases) to people who meet the criteria
  • To provide information about its services

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.

Cases covered by the Legal Aid Board

Civil matters

The Legal Aid Board tends to provide legal aid and legal advice in the following areas mainly:

  • Judicial separation
  • Divorce
  • Maintenance
  • Domestic violence
  • Custody of and access to children
  • Problems relating to hire-purchase agreements
  • Contract disputes

The Board can give legal advice in most areas. It is prohibited from providing legal aid in the following categories of cases:

  • Defamation claims (i.e., where a person's reputation has been damaged as a result of libel or slander)
  • Land disputes (i.e., disputes concerning rights and interests in or over land)
  • Civil matters covered by the small claims procedure
  • Licensing (publicans' licenses)
  • Conveyancing (i.e., the legal transfer of a property from one party to another)
  • Election petitions
  • Claims made in a representative, fiduciary or official capacity (see note below)
  • Claims brought by a person on behalf of a group of persons to establish a precedent on a particular point of law ("test cases")
  • Any other group or representative action ("class actions")

    Note: Refers to a situation where a person is bringing a case on behalf of someone else or in an official capacity.

    Criminal matters

    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.

    Further information

    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:

    The Legal Aid Board

    Quay Street
    Caherciveen
    Kerry
    Ireland

    Tel:066 947 1000
    Locall:1890 615 200
    Homepage: http://www.legalaidboard.ie
    Email: info@legalaidboard.ie


    Page updated: 30 April 2012

    Language

    Gaeilge

    Related Documents

    • Civil Legal Advice and Legal Aid
      An explanation of civil legal advice and legal aid and the eligibility criteria to be able to avail of it.
    • Solicitors in Ireland
      Solicitors in Ireland have a wide range of functions. Overview of the role and function of solicitors in a court of law.
    • Criminal Legal Aid
      You must fulfil certain criteria to qualify for criminal legal aid. Find out about the cases where legal aid is granted and how to apply.

    Contact Us

    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.