legal aid
legal aid n: aid provided by an organization established to serve the legal needs of the poor

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

legal aid
A nonprofit system that provides legal assistance to people who cannot afford to pay for lawyers themselves.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.

legal aid
assistance to litigants that they might be able to avail themselves of the usually expensive legal process. In the UK, various schemes have existed from time to time, usually inspired by the legal profession's acceptance of a duty to do work for the less fortunate. As part of the 'welfare state' provisions introduced after the Second World War, England and Wales and Scotland established legal aid schemes. As with most government-funded welfare, the rules – who gets how much for what – change according to the government of the day. The most significant recent development was the establishment of a Legal Aid Board for England and a Scottish Legal Aid Board, taking administration of the system away from lawyers. In England in 2000 the LAB was replaced by the Legal Services Commission, aimed at providing better value for money. This is being done through a franchising scheme whereby tested and audited lawyers gain certain privileges. Franchising is not yet compulsory.
There are three main forms of legal aid operated by the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB):
(1) advice and assistance (the pink form scheme), which, subject to the means of the applicant, allows the solicitor to give legal advice. On some specified occasions, court appearances may be possible under the scheme called ABWORassistance by way of representation;
(2) civil legal aid, which allows a court action to be raised or defended. Means are assessed, and the SLAB must be satisfied that the case has merit. As well as allowing the litigant legal services (perhaps subject to a contribution) a legal aid certificate can allow the court to reduce or waive the legal expenses normally payable by a losing litigant;
(3) criminal legal aid is available for the defence of criminal charges. Means are less important here – the question is whether it is in the interests of justice that the accused be represented. Unless or until there are no rules of evidence or procedure, and no need to cross-examine, it is quite clear that in the majority of cases justice requires the accused to have a lawyer.
The amounts paid to lawyers by way of fees under the schemes are fixed, often at heavily discounted rates.
The availability of legal aid is an important aspect of the human right (See human rights) to a fair trial.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.

legal aid
Free or low-cost legal services for consumers with limited financial means; legal aid services are often provided by local bar associations.
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

legal aid
n. The free or inexpensive services of an attorney provided to individuals, typically criminal defendants, who are not otherwise able to afford an attorney.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

legal aid
A system of nonprofit organizations that provide legal services to people who cannot afford an attorney.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

legal aid
A system of nonprofit organizations that provide legal services to people who cannot afford an attorney.
II Professional legal services available usually to persons or organizations unable to afford such services.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • legal aid — n [U] a system in which a government gives money to people who need a lawyer but cannot afford to pay for one ▪ They have been granted legal aid and now intend to take their case to court …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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  • legal aid — free legal service to persons unable to pay for a lawyer. [1885 90] * * * noun [noncount] : money provided by a special organization to pay legal fees for people who cannot pay them themselves * * * ˌlegal ˈaid [legal aid] noun uncountable money… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Legal Aid — / li:g(ə)l eɪd/, Legal Aid scheme /ˌli:g(ə)l eɪd ski:m/ noun a British government scheme where a person with very little money can have legal representation and advice paid for by the state …   Dictionary of banking and finance

  • legal aid — N UNCOUNT Legal aid is money given by the government or another organization to people who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer …   English dictionary

  • legal aid — legal assistance provided at a discounted rate to those who need it …   English contemporary dictionary

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