Many people require subsidized legal aid for family law problems and there are two panels of solicitors maintained by the Civil Legal Aid board for family law matters.
One panel deals with divorce and separation cases and the other panel, the District Court panel of solicitor’s scheme, deals with maintenance, domestic violence, custody, guardianship and access.
The District Court scheme requires that you make an application to your local family law centre to bring proceedings in the District Court under one of the headings of guardianship, access, domestic violence, maintenance and custody. If you are deemed to be eligible (income under €18,000 per annum and your case must have merit) then the family law centre will issue you with a legal aid certificate.
Once you are granted this legal aid certificate you will normally be given the list of solicitors on the family law District Court panel and asked to choose one to act for you.
You then give part III and part IV of the legal aid certificate to the solicitor and this will set out what legal action is authorised on your behalf. Your solicitor will then act on your behalf and institute the proceedings that he/she is authorised for.
Financial eligibility for civil legal aid
To qualify for civil legal aid your annual income must be less than €18,000 and your capital resources (such as property) must be less than €320,000. You must make a contribution to the cost of this service and this will range from €10 for legal advice and €50 for legal aid.
Merit of your case
Your case must have merit also and this is a matter for the family law centre to decide.
Your first step in this process is to call to your local law centre and make an application. Here is a link to a list of these law centres listed by county.
Terry Gorry & Co. Solicitors is on the panel of solicitors for the District Court scheme and is eligible to provide services in Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Westmeath.
By Terry Gorry