We all have the right to live a just life, irrespective of our socio-economic condition. Law should not only serve to the affluent class. Read any newspaper, and you will mostly find the weak and helpless bearing the brunt of injustice. Their inability to incur the expense of round trips to court and to hire a lawyer legal services to fight their case stops them from standing up and speaking for themselves in the court. But the primary objective of a democracy is to mechanize justice system in such a way it benefits every citizen, without any biases and with full fairness. Hence the poor and weak section of the society, unable to get proper legal assistance is a threat to the existence of democracy.
Just implementing the rule of law will not ensure proper democracy. Each citizen of the society should be able to enforce their legal right and to fight if they are subjected to an injustice, irrespective of their financial status since the wealthy class can quickly get an expert advocate to represent their case and make them win it.
To provide assistance in legal matters to the indignant litigations, the state and the federal government have implemented the provision of legal aid. Legal aid in general means providing legal support, individual assistance, social security, etc. to the financially constrained ones to help them discharge their rights through a legal channel. It refers to providing professional legal help both inside and outside the court, at a minimal sum or no fee to the needy and monetarily weak citizens. Legal aid includes covering the counseling, paying lawyer’s fees, litigation for those who are unable to access justice due to their economic condition. Through legal aid, a state seeks to make law and legal services, open to all.
SITUATION WHERE LEGAL AID CAN HELP:
Depending on their condition, different people seek legal aid for various reasons. While some need legal representation for divorce, DUI charges some find it for civil suits or to consult before making a will or business contracts. Legal aid is an essential aspect of the development of the society. Let’s have a look at the area represented by the legal aid:
- Unemployment compensation
- Immigration issues
- Medical Assistance
- Conflicts over public housing and rent contracts
- Impounding of foreclosures
- Juvenile legal problems
- Matters involving care facilities of seniors like Medicare
DO YOU QUALIFY FOR LEGAL AID?
- If you can prove it to the court and the judge that you qualify for indigent representation, you are eligible for legal aid.
- A criminal defendant who is unable to afford an attorney also qualifies for free legal aid, since constitution guarantees the right to legal counsel in certain circumstances.
- If you fear for your safety or have been a victim of domestic violence, you are eligible to seek legal aid.
- If you receive monetary assistance through any assistance service, you are eligible for continuous legal aid in your state.
- Mentally and physically incapacitated national veteran are eligible for free legal aid.
- If your annual income is below the national average salary, you are eligible or free legal assistance.
It is imperative to implement legal aid to reinforce and sustain human rights and equality for all. Legal assistance ensures adequate execution of the rule of law and equal protection of the law to uphold and strengthen democracy. To check whether or not do you qualify for legal assistance and to get the help you need in legal aid proceedings you can get in touch with the state legal aid services offices across the country to get free legal assistance.