No matter what country you are in, if you are facing criminal charges, you are going to have an attorney whether you can afford one or not. That is because it is stipulated in the law that you will get legal aid if you are facing criminal cases.
That being said, this is not the case for civil litigants who are facing civil cases such as breach of contract or divorce. This means that you are not given free legal services right off the bat, but this doesn’t mean that you still cannot get legal aid- you still can. However, you will have to find a lawyer yourself. Keep in mind that there are some entities that may provide you with legal services for free, but there are also those that you will have to pay, albeit for a heavily discounted price.
So, in the event that you cannot afford your own attorney and you’re facing a civil case, what options do you have?
There are some organizations that are given federal grants in exchange for providing free legal services to the low-income population. Experienced paralegals and staff attorneys may be able to help you with divorce, public assistance, landlord-tenant legalities, subsidized housing, unemployment cases, issues with social security, among many others.
It is important for you to remember that most (if not all) legal aid offices would only provide free services for low-income individuals at a certain level. However, there are also some programs that will consider all of the assets that you have, regardless of your income.
Unfortunately, legal aid (at least in some states) are not given to undocumented immigrants.
You can also go and search for charitable institutions that have legal assistants or lawyers that are able to assist you with your cases for a measly cost. For instance, there are nonprofits that would give discounted legal services to senior citizens, disabled persons, immigrants and refugees, and mentally-challenged individuals, among others.
However, because of the fact that they rely heavily on donations or limited-term grants, these offices are often busy because they are usually understaffed. Nevertheless, you may have to wait for your turn before someone caters to your need.
Law School Clinics
In some countries, some law schools will have clinical programs that will allow their students to gain real-world experience with academic credit.
Such organizations would typically give free legal services for low-income individuals in their community. Law school clinics are not created equal. There are some that would only handle a couple of cases, but there are also some that would offer the full spectrum of the law.
Low-Cost Legal Programs
Now, if you are somewhat financially capable of getting your own lawyer but you are afraid that you will lose all of your money, there is still an option for you. You could opt for low-cost legal programs instead which gives you legal services based on your need that is typically discounted to a certain degree.