Once the application for Free Legal Aid is submitted, it is examined by the concerned Legal Services Authority. If the application has been made online via the NALSA website or the online portals of the Legal Services Authorities, the applicant can track the status of the application on the NALSA Website itself.
However, if the application was made physically at the front office of any Legal Services Authority, the information regarding the application would be sent either by post to the residential address or on email. The residential address/ email id for correspondence is usually noted at the time the application is being submitted at the front office of the Authority.
Procedure after the application is selected for granting of Free Legal Aid
If the application is successful, the applicant would be given information regarding the assignment of a lawyer. A letter of appointment is issued to the lawyer assigned for the particular matter and the said lawyer would contact the applicant at the earliest.
You are not required to pay any fees whatsoever to the assigned lawyer for the conduct of his/her legal services in your case/legal problem. However, if such a lawyer is asking for fees/money or if you are being treated unfairly or if you are unhappy with his/her conduct for any other reason, you can formally complain against him/her. This can be done either by a simple paper application or by writing an email to an appropriate authority or to NALSA (at [email protected]). One can even access the “Grievance Redressal” option on the NALSA website and make a complaint therein.
Procedure if the application for Free Legal Aid is denied
If the applicant is found ineligible for Free Legal Aid, his/her application for the same would be rejected. If this is the situation and your application for Free Legal Aid is denied, you can appeal against the decision to the Executive Chairman or Chairman of the Legal Services Institution. The decision made upon this appeal would be a final decision.
1. What is the average time taken for an application to be processed and for an individual to be assigned a Free Legal Aid lawyer?
Ans. According to Regulation 7(2) of the National Legal Services Authority (Free and Competent Legal Services) Regulations 2010, a decision on the application for Free Legal Aid is to be taken immediately and not more than 7 days from the date of the receipt of the application.
2. Can I appeal if the Free Legal Services are denied to me?
Ans. According to Regulation 7(5) of the National Legal Services Authority (Free and Competent Legal Services) Regulations 2010, the application for legal services will be scrutinized by the Member-Secretary or the Secretary and if any individual is aggrieved by the decision made upon their application, he/she has an option to appeal to the Executive Chairman or Chairman of the Legal Services Institution and the decision resulting from the appeal would be a final one.
3. How will I get an intimation/information of the acceptance, success, failure, etc. of my application? By email, SMS or Courier?
Ans. Once the application is scrutinized by the concerned authorities, the information of its success or failure is given to the applicant in the following ways:
4. What is the procedure after my application is selected/Legal Aid is granted?
Ans. Once the application is selected, the applicant is given intimation about the assignment of a lawyer. A letter of appointment is also issued to the assigned lawyer with a copy to the applicant. The lawyer would thereafter contact the applicant at the earliest. The applicant may also contact the lawyer in the meanwhile.
5. Can Legal Aid be withdrawn?
Ans. Legal Aid granted to any aided person can be withdrawn in the following circumstances:
6. Can I complain against the conduct of a certain Legal Services Authority?
Ans. Yes, you can make a complaint (in writing by a simple application) regarding the conduct of a Legal Services Authority if you have been wronged. It can be made to the higher authority than the one you are complaining against. The hierarchy has been stated below:
7. What is the procedure if I am unhappy with the conduct of the lawyer assigned to me by a Legal Services Authority? Can I complain against him/her? Can he be replaced?
Ans. If you are unhappy with the conduct of the lawyer assigned to you, you can make a formal complaint (to the authority that assigned you the lawyer) by:
However, you must ensure that your complaint describes the problem that you are facing with your lawyer. According to Regulation 8 (14) of the National Legal Services Authority (Free and Competent Legal Services) Regulations 2010, the Legal Services Institution is at liberty to withdraw any case from a panel lawyer during any stage of the proceedings.
Regulation 8 (17) states that if the panel lawyer engaged is not performing satisfactorily or has acted contrary to the object and spirit of the Act and the regulations, the Legal Services Institution shall take appropriate steps - including withdrawal of the case from such lawyer and even his/her removal from the panel.
8. Do I have to pay the lawyer’s fees after the case is completed?
Ans. No, the recipient of Free Legal Aid is not required to pay the advocate’s fees during or after the case is over. The Free Legal Aid is entirely free of cost and it does not get affected by the outcome of the case either.