Free Legal Aid
Free legal aid is a system where you can receive free legal assistance by a lawyer.
It is the state that pays the lawyer’s fees following specific rates. In some instances this service is completely free of charge, whilst in other circumstance there will be a small fee which you will have to pay yourself. In some instances you can receive free legal aid regardless of your income and fortune, whilst in other instances only clients with a low income and fortune are eligible to receive free legal aid. The rules are rather complex.
Examples of cases which might provide the right to receive free legal aid:
- Divorce/separation between spouses
- Break ups between cohabitants
- Time spent together with children
- Child custody
- Compensation for personal injury
- Being fired from your work/resignation
- Charged with a criminal offence
- Terminating property/terminating lease or rental agreement
- Appeal of decision by NAV (Norwegian Social Services) Social benefit is not included
Example of cases where you can receive free legal aid regardless of income and fortune
- Suffered violence
- Assistance in reporting sexual assault, abuse and sexual offences
- Suspected academic misconduct
- Child welfare services after a decision has been made
Required Documentation for Free Legal Aid
To reverie free legal aid you are required to document a low income by submitting your latest yearly tax report. Additionally, you are also required to provide your latest document of salary or document stating the financial support you received from NAV.
If you have a variable income you must provide your last three documetns stating your salary. If you have recently lost an income, typically in relation to a resignation, the resignation can be attached to the application, if you in that way can prove that you will collectively be within the limits per year without your earned income.
In regards to the fortune, it is the fortune stated on the yearly tax report which is considered in regards to the rules about free legal aid. This means that real estate only counts towards the fortune taken into consideration as the tax value of the property. The tax value is often very low, and is rarely over a third of the actual value. You also get a deduction for the entire mortgage. This means that most people will have a negative taxable fortune.
When your fortune is negative, you always report that as zero. This means that most people have to report no fortune, even though they own property. If you do not own a property, but have saved money in the bank, you can inform the chancellor that the money are saved up for the purchase of property. People who have already purchased property, and people who are planning on purchasing property should not be treated differently, according to the rules on free legal aid.
The same applies for clients owning a small property, but who are planning on purchasing a bigger property. The money you have saved in the bank, or by other means, are not supposed to be taken into consideration as the money will be used to purchase a bigger property. This means that the requirement of documented fortune very rarely removes the right to free legal aid.
If you are living abroad, or if you are not a Norwegian citizen
You can receive free legal aid everywhere in Norway. You can even receive free legal aid if you are living abroad, provided that the case has a connection to Norway. Nor is there a requirement of you being a Norwegian citizen to receive free legal aid in Norway, provided that the case has a connection to Norway. You can then receive assistance from a lawyer by phone or skype. The lawyer can also travel everywhere in Norway to attended the trial.
Individual Decision about Free Legal Aid
According to the Norwegian law about free legal aid § 3-2, advokat.no can make an individual decision where we can provide you with the right to free legal aid. This means that it is the lawyer which decides whether or not you will receive legal aid according to these rules.
All lawyers in Norway have a duty to orientate themselves about these rules, but it is voluntary for the law firm to undertake a case.