Recession Contributes to Rise in Pro Bono Services

IrishTimes.Com reports recently that Legal Aid Board’s consumer base increased by 3% in 2007. The increase, directly related to a recessive economy, caused a 5% increase in workload to the 30 law centers nationwide that comprise the Board. The Legal Aid Board’s report cites a marked rise in family law cases. Suggestions for the use of mediation and collaborative modalities have been key alternatives employed by the Board to handle the rising case load.

The Irish Legal Aid Board employs the objective of providing an applicant access to a lawyer within a 4 month period of time. This objective has largely been met. More than half of the Board’s centres providing service with an average wait time of 2 months or less.

See the story in the Irish Times by following the link below

The Legal Aid Board provides civil legal aid to people with incomes of less than €18,000, who are required to make a contribution of €50 for legal aid and €10 for legal advice.

The report found that family law continues to be the main area in which the board provides legal advice, although 2007 saw a “significant increase” in advice given on other civil matters. Advice provided on cases concerning other civil matters rose 50 per cent, these included issues such as wills, probate, and personal injury.

However, some 85 per cent of the cases dealt with in the board’s 30 nationwide law centres still related to family issues such as marriage breakdown, domestic violence and child custody. The Refugee Legal Service registered 2,650 new clients last year, compared to 2,980 in 2006.