How Legal Aid Helps Veterans – LSC Senate Briefing 2016

A panel of experts on veteran’ issues discussed how veterans and military families are helped by local legal aid programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in March 2016, at a congressional briefing. The briefing is co-hosted by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Patty Murray (D-WA).

The briefing, “Serving Those Who Have Served Our Country: How Legal Aid Helps Veterans,” showcased the importance of local legal aid programs to veterans. Panelists included:

-Will A. Gunn, former General Counsel, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and retired Air Force Colonel;
-Susan Lutton, Executive Director, Mid-Missouri Legal Services Corporation;
-Maura Weber, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid of Western Missouri; and
-Ronnie Pitcock, Army veteran and client of Legal Aid of Western Missouri.
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How do I get Legal Aid?

How to apply for legal aid and how you can get a private criminal lawyer to represent you through a legal aid grant.

Visit our website for further information on legal aid: https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/about/legal-aid/

Sydney Criminal Lawyers® are a team of experienced and highly respected Criminal and Traffic Defence Lawyers with offices located opposite Sydney’s Downing Centre Court within the Sydney CBD.

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Transcript:
This video is about how to apply for Legal Aid. Now Legal Aid is a scheme that’s run by the government and it is intended to assist people who are not well off to get legal representation. That legal representation can be by legal aid solicitors; so solicitors that work the Legal Aid Commission or private lawyers, such as us here at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®. So the first step that you should do is you should apply for Legal Aid. Now you can apply for Legal Aid at the Legal Aid Commission and the central office is here at 323 Castlereagh St in Sydney, or you can do it through a private practitioner. That is you can come to a private lawyers office, such as our office, and we can go on the computer and we can take your details and apply for Legal Aid on your behalf. Now in order to apply for Legal Aid you will need your court attendance notice, you will need bank statements, three months of bank statements is is ideal, and you’ll also need proof of income. So if you’re on Centrelink your income statement from Centrelink. They’re the three things that you’ll need. The benefit of applied through a private lawyer is that the private lawyer can ask for the matter to be assigned, that is given to us eventually, and the Legal Aid Commission will pay us to work on your case. So you will only have to pay a nominal fee, a small fee to the Legal Aid commission as a contribution. So if we apply for Legal Aid here at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® then if Legal Aid decides to assign it to give it to a private practitioner we will be first in line and they’ll give it to us. So it’s best if you come in and you allow us to make our Legal Aid application for you. Now the next step, the second step is of course to wait for a decision to be made. Now Legal Aid will normally initially take your matter in house, that means they’ll take it themselves, they’ll assign it to a Legal Aid solicitor firstly before they decide whether it’s assign up to a private practitioner like us. So you wait, and then they will tell you and they’ll tell us if we make the application for you that the matters be taken in house. Now the Legal Aid Commission will then decide whether to assign it to us, they will only do that however in exceptional circumstances, and those exceptional circumstances include if a Legal Aid lawyer is not available, or if the Legal Aid Commission has what’s called a conflict of interest. That means if a Legal Aid Commission has represented the other party in the case in the past, or if they’re representing another party in the case. If there’s a conflict they can’t act for both you and another, another person involved. So they can assign it to private practitioners, but there’s certainly no guarantee we will try to get your manner assignment to us. Now I spoke about contribution the Legal Aid Commission will require a contribution from you if you are granted Legal Aid. At the moment that and that’s normally paid by us by Sydney Criminal Lawyers® to the Legal Aid Commission, and we would normally ask that the client provide that to us so we can provide that on. But the good thing about Legal Aid is you’ll have a Legal Aid provided your circumstances don’t change until the finalisation of your case and it really relieves that burden of having to pay for private practitioners. Now you can come into our office. We offer a free first appointment, where we can sit down we can read through you court attendance notice, we can discuss the case with you take their instructions, which means take your information and make a legal application on your behalf, and again that’s free, and you can ring our offices 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a free first appointment. Our number is 02 9261 8881. Hope to see you soon.
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