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:
- 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.