CHAPTER 110
LEGAL AID ACT

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

3. Civil proceedings.

4. Financial limitation.

5. Costs.

6. Criminal proceedings.

7. Financial circumstances.

8. Application.

9. Certificate.

10. Fund.

11. Rules.

12. Offences.

13. Application of this Act.

21 of 1985.

[Date of commencement: 1st February 1986]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Legal Aid Act.

2. Interpretation.

In this Act—

"civil proceeding" means a proceeding before any court in the exercise of its jurisdiction, both original and appellate, in civil matters;

"disposable capital or disposable income" means the capital or income computed in accordance with rules made under this Act;

"Fund" means the Legal Aid Fund established under section 10;

"Judge" means a judge of the Supreme Court;

"Registrar" means the Registrar of the Supreme Court.

3. Civil proceedings.

(1) Subject to this Act, legal aid shall be available to any person—

(a) in any civil proceeding, not being a civil proceeding exempted by rules made under this Act; and

(b) in taking any steps to assert or dispute a claim which may give rise to a civil proceeding for which legal aid shall be available under paragraph (a) but where the question of instituting, defending or being a party to such civil proceeding has not yet arisen.

(2) Legal Aid shall consist of—

(a) in relation to subsection (1)(a), representation by legal practitioner including such assistance as is usually given by a legal practitioner in the steps preliminary or incidental to a civil proceeding or in arriving or giving effect to a settlement to bring an end to such proceeding;

(b) in relation to subsection (1)(b), the assistance of the legal practitioner in advising on the steps necessary to assert or dispute the claim.

4. Financial limitation.

(1) For the purpose of section 3, legal aid shall be granted to any person whose disposable income does not exceed the level of subsistence declared for the time being under section 23 of the Social Security Act:

Provided that where the value of his disposable capital exceeds the amount fixed by rules made under this Act, he may be refused legal aid if it appears that he is capable of prosecuting or defending the civil proceeding or taking steps to assert or dispute the claim without legal aid under this Act.

(2) Subject to section 5, a person who is granted legal aid under subsection (1) shall not be liable to pay any contributions to the Fund and may be exempted from paying any fees of court.

(3) For the purposes of section 3, legal aid may, subject to subsection (4), be granted to any person whose disposable income or disposable capital exceeds the amount specified in subsection (1).

(4) A person granted legal aid under subsection (3) shall make such contributions to the Fund as he may, having regard to the expenses likely to be incurred by the Fund in granting legal aid to him, be required to make.

5. Costs.

(1) Where any person who has been granted legal aid under section 4(1) in a civil proceeding is awarded costs in that proceeding, the court awarding the costs may, of its own motion or on application, direct that the costs when recovered shall be paid to the Fund.

(2) Where any person who has been granted legal aid under section 4(1) in a civil proceeding is ordered by court to pay the costs of any other party to that proceeding, not being a party who has been granted legal aid under this Act, such costs shall be paid from the Fund.

6. Criminal proceedings.

(1) Subject to this Act, legal aid shall be available to any person charged with an offence and shall relate to proceedings in any court in the exercise of original or appellate jurisdiction in criminal matters in respect of that offence.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), legal aid shall consist of representation by a legal practitioner in the preparation and conduct of the defence in respect of the offence and, in relation to proceedings by way of appeal, in the preparation and conduct of the appeal.

7. Financial circumstances.

Where the financial circumstances of a person charged with an offence are such that he is unable without undue hardship to himself or his dependants to meet the expenses of proceedings in relation to that offence—

(a) he shall, where the offence is murder or any other capital offence, be granted legal aid;

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