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Legal Aid


The Legal Aid & Advisory Authority is a unit of the Ministry of Justice that provides legal advice and representation to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago who may not be able to afford the services of an attorney.




Am I eligible for Legal Aid?

Members of the public can visit any one of the nine offices of the Authority, pay a fee of TT$10.00 and obtain legal advice. If you are applying for Legal Aid, a Legal Officer will conduct an interview to determine your eligibility.

 

In matters before the Magistrates Court or in criminal proceedings before the High Court or Court of Appeal, a magistrate or a judge must decide if a defendant is eligible for legal aid or representation.  In High Court Civil matters, eligibility for legal aid is based on the applicant's means (disposable income and capital) as well as the merits of the matter, as laid out by the provisions of the Legal Aid and Advice Act.

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Is Legal Aid free?

There is a TT$10.00 application fee for Legal Aid, which is waived for old age pensioners and other persons in receipt of social welfare benefits. Legal representation is provided free of charge.

 

The Authority in all cases pays the attorney assigned to represent a legal aid applicant.  However, a small contribution can be requested by the Authority in Civil High Court Matters.

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How do I apply for Legal Aid?

To apply for legal aid, you must visit one of the legal aid offices, and: 

  • Fill out a form providing basic information about yourself and the nature of the problem.
  • You will then be interviewed by the Legal Officer to determine your eligibility for Legal Aid.
  • If you are not eligible you will be given legal advice and referred to a private attorney.
  • If eligible, an application form will be given to you. This form is an affidavit and requires that you go before the Justice of the Peace or a Commissioner of Affidavits to swear to the information you provide is true and correct.
  • In the case of civil actions, the application form must be returned together with requested documents to the office from where it was obtained. You will be interviewed by an investigator who will prepare a report on your matter.
  • This report will be considered by the Authority at its monthly meeting and you will be informed in writing whether or not Legal Aid has been granted.
  • If the matter is in the Magistrates Court or Criminal High Court, the application forms are sent to the relevant Courts where the request for Legal Aid is considered by a Magistrate or Judge.

You must sign that your application is true.  It is an offence to obtain legal aid with false information.

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Will an experienced lawyer represent me?

The Legal Aid and Advisory Authority works alongside Attorneys in private practice who have agreed to represent applicants via the Legal Aid system, so the same Attorneys are available to Legal Aid recipients as one would approach in private practice.

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Where are the offices located?

 

Office Location

 

Address

 

Telephone No.

 

Legal Officer on Duty

 

Port of Spain

(Head Office)
Corner Oxford and Edward Streets

(868) 625-0454
(868) 625-3215

Monday to Friday

Chaguanas

Chaguanas Borough Corporation, Rate Paying Office,

24 Ramsaran Street, Chaguanas

(868) 671-0577

Tuesdays

San Fernando

Howard Lane,

Off Coffee Street,

San Fernando

(868) 657-0694

(868) 652-2978

Monday to Friday

Arima

Registrar General/Rent Assessment Board,

Pro Queen Street,

Arima

(868) 667-1700

Wednesdays

Tobago

Fairfield Complex,

Bacolet Street,

Scarborough

(868) 639-6531

Monday to Friday

Couva

Family Services  Centre,

Camden Road,

Couva

(868) 636-5267

Thursdays

Debe/Penal

Debe/Penal Regional Corporation,

Dookie Street, Penal

(868) 647-6302

Fridays

Siparia

Siparia Regional Corporation, High Street

Siparia

(868) 649-2348

Tuesdays

Sangre Grande

Social Welfare Office, Corner Savi St. and Boodooville Circular Road, Sangre Grande

(868) 668-3366

Mondays

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Can I appeal if Legal Aid is not approved?

There is no formal appeal mechanism.  In Civil High Court matters, the decision to grant Legal Aid is based on the provisions of the Legal Aid and Advice Act and on the merits of the case.  If Legal Aid is refused in such matters, you will be informed in writing as to the reasons for the refusal.  You are free to come in and discuss the matter with a Legal Officer. 

 

In Criminal and Magistrates Court matters the decision for aid is strictly up to a Magistrate or Judge before whom the application is brought.  In most cases however, in the interest of justice, legal aid is granted.

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Where can I obtain additional information?

Legal Aid and Advisory Unit

Head Office

Corner Oxford and Edward Streets

Port of Spain

Trinidad, West Indies
Tel. (868) 625-0454/3215
Opening hours:  8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, except public holidays

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