How To Get A Free Lawyer If You Can’t Afford It

It is generally seen by the people saying that the lawyers are very expensive. When someone sues you he aims to take everything from you that’s why lawyers are needed to protect your right. But what to do if your earnings are not enough and still you want to hire a lawyer.

So the questions arise how to get a free lawyer if you can’t afford it, here I will tell you that you have different options to take in this situation.

In criminal cases situation is very different, almost in every country a lawyer is appointed by the court if it is seen by the court that the party does not have the financial power to afford it. There is a whole department of prosecution which is established for this particular reason.

Prosecutors are appointed in each provincial district courts to represent the complainant and for accused court appoints defense lawyer.

But in civil cases, it is not the same, because these matters are between two private individuals and unlike criminal cases the government is not involved in these cases. So if you want free legal aid but you cannot afford it you have to consider various options.

Pro Bono Attorneys or Lawyers

Pro Bono Publico means for the public is a Latin phrase. It means professional work which is taken voluntarily and without payment. This service is usually rendered by the individual lawyers they take a case from deserving people who cannot afford it.

For example, the American Bar Association recommends all lawyers to give 50 hours of their profession in a year as pro bono.

Approach Bar Association

In some countries bar associations also run free legal aid programs for poor deserving and destitute people. These people want to contest their case but they don’t have the means to pay a good lawyer.

Pakistan has passed a law The Pakistan Bar Council Free Legal Aid Rules 1999. To study these rules you can click here Rule 8 of these rules describes how a person can get legal aid for free. Which is as under;

Application for Free Legal Aid and their disposal:

The procedure to get free legal aid in Pakistan is provided in the legal practitioner act. Follow these steps.

  • Any person desirous of free legal aid shall submit an application on the prescribed form to the appropriate Committee or Chairman/Member of the appropriate Committee so authorized and such application shall be supported by an affidavit of the applicant and accompanied by the judgments/orders and other necessary documents providing him the cause of action for or against the suit, appeal or proceedings in a court of law.
  • The application shall be decided by the respective or its Chairman/Member in the manner stated hereinabove as soon as possible and each Committee or its Chairman/Member shall be free to grant free legal aid as provided in the schedule hereto or a part thereof.
  • The free legal aid for professional fees will only be granted in case no Advocate is available to take up or conduct the case free of charge.
  • Each Committee shall maintain the following panels of lawyers practicing within the area of its operation. (i) Lawyers voluntarily prepared to take up/conduct cases without charging any fee. (ii) Lawyers prepared to take up/conduct cases on charging the fee or part thereof as set out in the schedule. (iii) The above panels may be sub-divided category-wise according to the choice of advocate concerned in respect of the type of cases he would like to handle.
  • A Committee may request any advocate to conduct one case in a year free of charge.
  • Each Member of Pakistan Bar Council and Provincial Bar Councils may conduct at least one case in a year that may be assigned to him by a Free Legal Aid Committee.

Contact Charitable Organizations or NGOs

There are many organizations and NGOs that are working to give free legal aid to the deserving people. If you can’t have money to hire a lawyer it is best for you to contact them. Click here to see the list of legal aid and support NGOs.

Represent Yourself Instead

It is not a good idea for you to represent yourself in a court because court proceeding is very technical which a layman cannot understand. It will be much more suitable for you to hire an expert in that field. But if you think you can handle it then go ahead.

You have to be well prepared if you are going to represent yourself in court because you will be held to lawyers standards. In other case hire a lawyer.

These are the few options to get a free lawyer if you can’t afford it.

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M. Mateen
I'm a professional practicing Lawer at Rawalpindi District Courts of Pakistan. I graduated from the International Islamic University of Islamabad in the faculty of Shria (LLB). Right now I am a student of LLM/M.Phil in Corporate Law.

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