Civil legal matters

Although they deal with many cases, the C. L. S. F can't fund some types of civil legal matters. These are; defamation and malicious falsehood, cases to do with the running of a business, conveyancing, drawing up wills, matters to do with trust law and allegations of injury, death and damage done to property by negligence (though this is not funded by the C. L. S. F anymore, most people tend to get a conditional fee agreement as I have mentioned before. Clinical negligence is the one exception and can be funded by the C. L. S. F).

They also do not fund people for claims less than 5000 or most tribunal hearings (except for cases in the mental health and immigration tribunals) Priority for Funding Section 6 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 says that the priorities for funding are decided by the Lord Chancellor. He gave priority for cases where; a person is in danger of losing their life or civil liberty, cases concerning the welfare of children, domestic violence cases, social welfare cases (though funding is not available for representation in employment or social security tribunals) and serious breaches of human rights by public bodies. Funding Criteria

Before the person is granted legal aid, they must first prove that their case should be funded. To decide this, the following points are considered; if they don't have too much disposable income or capital (persons who go over the maximum limit on their disposable income or capital are refused funding), if they do not have any other choice of legal services, if the case is likely to be successful or not and also if a prosecution would be in the public interest. There is also a C. L. S website (www. clsdirect. org. uk), where people who need legal help can go online.

It's completely free and provides a wide range of access to many different kinds of people. Citizens Advice Bureaux (C. A. Bx) The Citizens Advice Bureaux was first set up in 1938. Today there are about 1,000 all across the country, mostly residing in towns. They give free general advice to anyone on a variety of legal issues, but mostly deal with problems connected with social welfare and debt, but they do give some legal advice. In most C. A. Bx's a qualified solicitor or barrister comes in two- four times a week to give more detailed and specific legal advice.

They also provide information on which solicitors live locally do legal aid and also cheap or free initial interviews (I will go on to this further later in my essay). C. A. Bx's rely heavily on volunteers to keep them running, so most of the people that work there are unqualified in law, but they do offer a training program for the volunteers to become more knowledgeable in their area of work. Claims Firms These firms are commonly advertised on T. V and operate a kind of conditional fee agreement.

They settle compensation cases on behalf of their client and if the case is not settled they arrange legal representation. Some of these firms are criticised because of the high insurance rates. Law Centres Law centres offer fee advice and sometimes representation for people. They are supposed to offer and friendly and unthreatening road for people who cant afford legal representation. The first one opened in 1970 in North Kensington and they have major funding issue, they are supposed to be funded by the local authority, but most are not willing to do so.

However they do receive some funding from the Home Office and also the community legal service. Cheap or Free Initial Interviews Some solicitors offer this service and the Citizens Advice Bureaux will have a list of them. As the name suggests, they either conduct the interview for free or charge a discounted price (the maximum being i?? 25) b) Explain the criticisms that have been made of conditional fees and the other methods of funding. [15] (OCR). The Problems with C. F. A Although C. F.

A's are a great use to people who can't afford a solicitor, they do have some faults that I will point out here. One of the problems with CFA's is that if a client has a particularly difficult case that is likely to lose, a solicitor isn't likely to take the case on because if they lose he or she won't get paid. This makes it a major problem for someone who has a tricky case and can't afford a solicitor. Another is to do with the amount of work needed to be done, especially on personal injury cases, in such cases the solicitors could charge a 100% uplift fee.

Then there are the insurance premiums. These are very expensive and the poorest clients cannot afford them. Also if a person was looking for a solicitor who deals in a specific area of law, they would be hard pressed to find one who does conditional fee agreements. Then there is the predicament that the client would be in if they lost. They would not have to pay their solicitor anything, but they would have to pay all of the other side's costs and expenditure, including solicitors fee and success fee.

If the client was to poor to take out an insurance policy before they lost the case they would be in deep trouble. Problems with the Citizens Advice Bureaux (C. A. Bx) The citizen's advice bureaux are run mainly by volunteers and rely heavily on them to keep it going. This can be seen as a problem because the volunteers are not legally qualified and will not know as much as, say a barrister or solicitor. Also if it runs out of volunteers, it will close down. Problems with Law Centres Law centres are also run by volunteers.

They severely lack funding and are in danger of being shut down. They are also very few and far between. Conclusion. In conclusion, even though there are some problems with the civil funding system, it is essential as it provides legal help to those who otherwise could not afford it. Yes it does need to be reformed slightly, but it has helped many people out in the past. The only major thing that I can suggest to be changed is the amount of funding that places like the law centres and C. A. Bx gets. I think that the amount that they gety now is appalling.