Have you ever been thrust into a situation where a person breached your contract and was unable to deliver what was promised? Or perhaps, you’ve been wrongfully accused and you want to find a lawyer that will give you advice, as well as be your legal representative about the matter?
The thing is, we all need lawyers if we ever have problems with the law. It could be that someone committed a breach of contract and sometimes, you can even file libel cases against people who have wrongfully accused you of something.
Whatever the case may be, an attorney can be your legal representative and they will be able to help you with your case. However, attorneys aren’t exactly cheap and not a lot of people are able to pay for their services.
In the event that you cannot afford one, what happens? If you are a Malaysian that requires legal services, what happens if you cannot get a lawyer?
Legal Aid Bodies
The Legal aid in Malaysia is divided into two parts: Legal Advice and Legal Representation. The first one is usually free and will cover all of the areas of Malaysian law. As the name implies, they will give you advice regarding the law free of charge. Take note that your case may or may not proceed to court.
Legal representation is where the lawyer will argue and represent you on your behalf. This is subsidized by the government, but you still have to pay a small amount of money for the attorney’s services.
It is also important to note that there are three different legal aid bodies in the country. The first one is the Legal Aid Department which is completely paid for by the government. This agency will handle civil and criminal cases.
The second one is the Bar Council and it is funded by the lawyers in the country. They provide legal aid for cases involving employment law, family law, and criminal law.
The National Legal Aid Foundation is the third legal body and handles criminal cases only.
How to Qualify
If you are unable to pay for legal services on your own, you can get a hold of any of these three services. However, in order for you to get them, you will have to take what is known as the ‘Means Test’ first.
This test will allow the government to know if you are indeed financially incapable of getting your own attorney. The Legal Aid Department will first give you an online test. Should you fail this test, do not worry, as the division will not deem it as final (yet).
If you need the help of the Bar Council, you will have to walk to one of their offices and you are required to fill up a form. Again, this is to assess your financial capabilities (or lack thereof).
The Legal Aid Bodies will also give you a ‘Merits Test’ which will weigh the merits of your case. This is done to see if there are reasonable grounds for you to be granted free legal aid.