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Legal Aid

Legal Aid is  legal  assistance provided by the State to those who need it, whether for proceedings you are making against a third party or against claims brought against you.   
 

Legal aid is a form of assistance given by the State to persons who on demand, and  following an assessment of their claim, are declared eligible for such assistance.

The content available on this website is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For free legal or emotional advice and support pertaining to your specific situation, please contact Victim Support Malta (21228333)

Facts and information: legal aid

According  to  Article  920  of  the  COCP,  legal  aid  only  covers  the  costs  incurred  by  the  applicant.  The   applicant  would  thus  be  exempt  from  payment  of  all  his/her  fees  and  from  giving  security  for  costs.   

As  seen  in  Article  921  of  the  COCP,  if  the  applicant  succeeds  in  the  action,  he  shall,  out  of  the   amount   obtained   or   out   of   the   proceeds   of   the   judicial   sale   by   auction   of   the   movable   or   immovable   property   effected   in   pursuance   of   the   judgment,   pay   the   fees   due   to   the   registry,   advocate,   legal   procurator   and   to   the   curators   and   referees   (if   any),   saving   his   right   of   reimbursement  as  against  the  party  who  may  have  been  ordered  to  pay  such  fees.   
 

In criminal matters legal aid is available to all without means testing.
 
In civil matters, Legal aid is only granted after having satisfied three criteria:

  1. Merits,
  2. Means
  3. The procedure test.

 
These are found in Article 912 of the Code of  Organisation and Civil Procedure (COCP): 
1. Merits -­ For an applicant to qualify under the merits criteria, the Advocate  for  Legal  Aid  upon   examine  the  nature  of  the  case,  must  decide  whether  the  applicant  has  reasonable  grounds   for  taking  or  defending  proceedings  before  the  courts.  This  is  decided  on  a  case  by  case  basis.   
2. Means  -­ For  an  applicant  to  qualify  under  the  means  test, he  must not possess  property of any sort, the net value whereof does not exceed €6988.12 or such other  sum as the  Minister responsible for justice may from me to me by order in  the   Gaze e   establish.   Also   the   applicant’s   income   should   not,   for   the   period   of   12   months,   exceed   the   national   minimum   wage   for   persons   above   the   age   of   18.   Excluded   from   the   assessment   are   the   everyday   household items that are  considered necessary for the use by the applicant and his family, as well as the principal  residence of the applicant or any property (both  movable  or  immovable)  which forms  the subject matter of the court's  proceedings, even though such property is not the  subject  matter of the proceedings in respect of which legal aid is being applied for.   
3. Procedure  -­ The applicant must take an oath confirming his/her means, and that s/he has a probable cause. 
If the applicant satisfies these criteria according to Article 912 of the COCP, a notice of   such request is sent to the party against whose proceedings are to be instituted, who  has 4 days to object to the request.