Minister Naughton announces changes to Civil Legal Aid eligibility
- Housing Assistance Payment will be excluded from the calculation of entitlement to legal aid.
- Review of Civil Legal Aid Scheme commencing this year.
28 May 2021
The Minister of State with special responsibility for Civil and Criminal Justice, Hildegarde Naughton, TD, has today announced positive changes to the eligibility criteria for the Civil Legal Aid Scheme.
Speaking following today’s Cabinet meeting, where the changes were discussed, Minister Naughton said:
“I am pleased to announce that the Legal Aid Board will no longer include the Housing Assistance Payment in their calculation of entitlement to civil legal aid”.
“This will have a positive impact for families and individuals who are of modest means and are in receipt of HAP or any other housing support measure provided by a Department of State or any other public body. This will no longer be an impediment to them accessing legal advice and representation where the other criteria of the scheme are met.”
The Minister also announced her plans to review the Civil Legal Aid Scheme more broadly:
“In the Justice Plan 2021, we have committed to a review of the Civil Legal Aid Scheme, which will begin later this year. Eligibility for the Scheme, including financial eligibility, will form part of the review. This is part of our ongoing commitment to improve access to justice for everyone.”
The guidelines of the Legal Aid Board on the Civil Legal Aid Scheme will be amended to take account of these changes.
Notes for Editors
The Civil Legal Aid Scheme helps people of insufficient means with legal advice and representation to resolve their civil and family disputes.
The Scheme was first introduced on a non-statutory basis in 1979 and was later placed on a statutory footing by the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995.
The financial eligibility criteria under the Act were established by the Civil Legal Aid Regulations 1996.