LawWorks Individual Casework
What kind of legal assistance does Individual Casework offer?
We act as a clearing house matching individuals in need of legal assistance with volunteer solicitors who are willing to act for them for free.
We cannot help with cases involving:
- Immigration, or
- Family law (including child custody and divorce law).
If an individual requires legal help outside those areas, and he or she cannot afford to pay for it, then that individual should apply to us for free help. The individual will need to complete an Application Form and send it to LawWorks along with any documents relevant to their case.
PLEASE NOTE: We will not consider any application received less than four weeks before the date by which legal help is required.
STAGE 1 – APPLICATION STAGE
The individual sends to the caseworker at LawWorks an Application Form and all relevant documents. Once the caseworker is satisfied that we have all relevant paperwork, the file will be sent to a Reviewer. The Reviewer has the role of deciding whether or not LawWorks will assist.
How long will stage 1 take?
This can vary. The sooner the caseworker has all the relevant documents, the sooner the file can be sent to the Reviewer. Therefore, if applicants respond swiftly to the caseworker's requests for further information this will speed up the process significantly.
STAGE 2 – REVIEW STAGE
The Reviewer has the role of deciding whether or not the case is suitable for pro bono assistance. Applications are considered on a case by case basis. Broadly speaking, the Reviewer makes his or her decision with reference to two things:
- the personal circumstances of the applicant; and
- the strength of the claim/defence which the applicant is trying to advance.
If the Reviewer decides that the case is not suitable for pro bono assistance then he or she will inform the caseworker who will then inform the Applicant as soon as possible. The file will be closed once the Applicant has been informed of the Reviewer’s decision. In circumstances where the Reviewer decides that a case is not suitable for pro bono assistance the case will not move to stage 3.
How long will stage 2 take?
This stage can take up to one week.
STAGE 3 – PLACEMENT STAGE
If the Reviewer decides that the case is suitable for pro bono assistance, the Caseworker will then try to find a volunteer with the time and expertise to be able to take the case on.
How long will stage 3 take?
This stage can take any length of time and will mostly depend on the availablity of our panel of volunteer solicitors.
Once a case progresses to Stage 3, are you guaranteed to find me a lawyer?
We do not, at any stage, guarantee that we will be able to find a solicitor to take your case on. In some cases our efforts to find a volunteer solicitor will be unsucessful despite the fact that the case has progressed to Stage 3.
It is worth noting that certain cases have proven to be more difficult to place than others. For example:
- cases where the applicant is resident abroad can be difficult to place due to the difficulties the lawyer may have in communicating with the applicant; and
- applications for assistance with a case from start to finish can be difficult to place due to the significant time commitment required.