No person can be tried in Ireland save in due course of law which is enshrined in Article 38.1 of the Constitution.
An accused person has a right to fair procedures, and this includes affording an accused with an opportunity to defend themselves against a charge and a right to legal representation, if an accused does not have the means to pay for representation.
If an accused person applies for a certificate for legal aid from the court, and is refused, there is no appeal mechanism.
When an application is made to the court for legal aid, the court will assess the financial means of the person, gravity of the charge or if exceptional circumstances arise.
Statement of Means
When an application for legal aid is made, the court will require a completed statement of means.
Proof of income with respect to a bank statement or social welfare receipt should also be produced.
Garda Station Legal Advice Revised Scheme
If a person is detained in a station and whose earnings are less than €20,316 per annum or in receipt of social welfare payments, they can apply for legal aid under the above mentioned scheme for legal representation during formal interviews and attendance at an identify parade.
This scheme applies if the person is detained under:
- Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984, (as amended), or
- Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996, (as amended),
- Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007, (as amended),
- Section 30 of the Offences against the State Act 1939 (as amended),
- the person has a legal entitlement to consult with a solicitor and the person’s means are insufficient to enable him / her to pay for their own legal advice at the Garda Station.
Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.
Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.
8(b) “In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement”.