Free legal aid

Many of the cases in which Adalat offers help are cases where free legal aid is provided. The rules around this can be difficult to understand and we therefore provide an overview here:

There are two types of free legal aid; so-called “free legal advice” (fritt rettsråd) and “free representation” (fri sakførsel). Free legal advice (fritt rettsråd) means that you will receive counseling and complaint assistance for up to a certain number of hours. Free representation (fri sakførsel) means that you have the right to have the lawyer bring your case to court and in some other courts similar to courts, such as the County Social Welfare Board (fylkesnemda) or the supervisory commission.

Whether you are entitled to free legal aid in your case depends on the type of case involved and in some cases, how much you earn in the year and how much wealth you have. If you have a spouse or cohabitant, it will be their joint finances that determine whether you are entitled to free legal aid.

In some cases, free legal aid is given no matter how much you earn.

Free legal advise regardless of income applies in these cases:

  • In cases at UDI or UNE, such free legal advise is given in complaints cases about asylum, deportation, expulsion, revocation of residence permits and applications for asylum from unaccompanied minor asylum seeker. Note that free legal aid for deportation applies only in cases where the deportation is justified in violation of the Immigration Act.
  • You also have the right to free legal advice (fritt rettsråd) if you apply for damages after you have been charged or prosecuted for a criminal offense and your case has been dropped or you have been acquitted.
  • You are entitled to free legal advice (fritt rettsråd) if you have been subjected to violence and you wish to promote a claim against the perpetrator.
  • You are also entitled to free legal advice (fritt rettsråd) if you have been subjected to a violation of restraining order, forced marriages, human trafficking, domestic abuse, genital mutilation, rape, some forms of sexual abuse, abuse or you have been subjected to a crime that has caused significant harm to your body or health and you are considering reporting the relationship. The lawyer will then assist you with the review process.
  • Free legal advice (fritt rettsråd) is also given to those who are being medicated against their will under involuntary psychiatric hospitalization.

Free representation (fri sakførsel) regardless of income is applicable in these cases:

  • If the child welfare service (barnevernet) wants to enact an emergency decision, make a care order or forecefully adopt your child,  you will be entitled to free representation (fri sakførsel). Note that you also have free legal advice (fritt rettsråd) for the counseling in all the cases mentioned here.
  • Free representation (fri sakførsel) is also given to those who are subject to involuntary psychiatric hospitalization and wish to have the right of trial decided through the entire legal system.
  • In cases where you want to claim damages against the perpetrator after being subjected to violence.
  • Inmany cases, a free lawyer is given in criminal cases, but this is then called to have a public defender appointed and dealt with under “criminal cases”.
  • You can also claim a free lawyer during criminal proceedings if you are the victim, which is dealt with under “criminal cases”.

Free legal aid that depends on income

As mentioned, free legal advise and free representation (fri sakførsel) can also be given in certain other cases depending on how much you earn and your wealth. If you are single and earn less than NOK 246,000 per year before taxes and your wealth is below NOK 100,000, you will be entitled to free legal aid in these cases as well. If you have a spouse or cohabiting partner, this limit will be total NOK 369,000 before taxes and maximum wealth of NOK 100,000

 

When free legal aid is dependent on your income, you must pay a client’s contribution for the aid in order to receive it. For free legal advise, you must pay NOK 1040 in 2019 (1 times the public rate for free legal aid). For free representation (fri sakførsel), the person receiving the aid must pay 25% of the expenses, but a maximum of NOK 8320 in 2019 (8 times the public rate for free legal aid). The public rate increases annually and the amounts above will then increase with the increase in the rate. If you receive income below NOK 100 000 a year, you are exempt from client’s contribution.

Free legal advice (fritt rettsråd) depending on income applies in these cases:

  • Cases where you complain about a decision from NAV under the National Insurance Act (for example unemployment benefits, sickness benefits, disability benefits and other benefits in the national insurance that apply to the family and pension)
  • Cases where you apply for or complain about a decision on victim compensation after you have been subjected to a criminal offense.
  • If you are left behind and have lost a parent or you have been injured in a personal injury and want to pursue a claim for damages.
  • Cases of wrongful dismissal or dismissal by your employer.
  • Cases where you are thrown out of the apartment that you rent.
  • Matters of cohabitation that apply to the care of your children, whether you have the right to be together and who should have parental responsibility for the children.
  • Matters concerning how you and your spouse should distribute the wealth after divorce.

Free representation (fri sakførsel) depending on income applies in these cases:

  • In matters of child care, right of access to child (visitations) or parental responsibility.
  • In cases of ordinary or summary dismissal pursuant to the Workin Environment Act.
  • In cases concerning eviction
  • In the case of compensation for personal injury or loss of provider

Defence lawyer – Forsvarsadvokat

You have the right to be assisted by a defence lawyer at any stage of your case, and Adalat will help you through your case from start to finish. Unfortunately, however, you do not have the right to claim that the assistance is paid by the public in all cases where you are charged or your case goes to court.

If you are charged or prosecuted in a criminal case, you may in many cases be entitled to a publicly appointed lawyer.

During the investigation phase, it will be considered on a case-by-case basis whether one has the right to a defender appointed by the public. Adalat will always assess whether you are entitled to a publicly appointed defender during the investigation, and apply to be appointed where there is a basis for it. You are always entitled to a publicly appointed defender if you are sitting on a holding cell for over 24 hours or it is clear to the police that you will be sitting longer than 24 hours. You are also always entitled to a defence lawyer if you are placed in custody. If you are placed in police custody, Adalat will always provide assistance to the arrested person.

When the case comes to court, you will mainly be entitled to a defence lawyer if you deny being guilty of the charges brought against you. However, this does not apply if the case comes up to court because you refused to make a fine, if you have denied criminal guilt after receiving a so-called waiver of prosecution or the case only involves confiscation. This also does not apply in traffic cases involving intoxication or driving without a driver’s license.

If you have admitted a criminal charge, the case goes as a so-called confession case and the police want to give you more than six months imprisonment, you are entitled to a defender during the trial. The same applies mainly if you have broken the terms of a conditional sentence, probation or community service penalty and the police want to give you a prison sentence of more than six months. If the police in such a situation want to give you less than six months in prison, you do not automatically have a right to a publicly appointed defense lawyer. However, you may still be entitled to a defense in special cases upon application. Adalat will always assess whether you have a defend lawyer claim and apply for it where there is a basis for it.

Defence lawyer entitlement are also in a number of other cases, such as when a restraining order is imposed on your own home, when one has been banned from visitation because one is charged with mistreatment in close relationships or the charge applies to children under the age of 18 and you want to ask for a supplemental  interrogation of the children. If you were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, you should always have a defence lawyer if the police will give you a prison sentence, a youth sentence or a community sentence.

Legal counselor – Bistandsadvokat

If you are a victim of a crime, you may be entitled to a lawyer for assistance both during the investigation and when the case comes to court. You are always entitled to a lawyer for assistance if you have been subject to a violation of a restraining order, forced marriage, human trafficking, domestic abuse, genital mutilation, rape, some forms of sexual abuse, abuse or you have been subjected to a crime that has caused you significant damage to your body or health. You can also, after a detailed assessment, be appointed a lawyer outside these cases if the nature and seriousness of the case indicates it. Adalat will investigate further if you are entitled to a lawyer for assistance and seek where there is a basis for it.

Fixed prices

Although you are not entitled to free legal aid, Adalat will, in several cases regarding complaints against public decisions and other cases in the areas covered by the free legal aid system, offer fixed prices. This means that you pay one fixed price for the assignment without having to worry about the lawyer at work counting the hours. Fixed prices are often offered in cases pending at the UDI, NAV and other government agencies. Whether a fixed price is to be given is assessed on the basis of the scope and complexity of the case and the client’s financial situation.

Insurance or membership in union

If you have an insurance policy or are a member of a union, it is worth investigating the insurance terms or agreement with your union, to see whether you are entitled to cover the cost of legal aid, partly or in full. Adalat will investigate this for you where applicable.

Prices otherwise

Otherwise, price and terms will be considered in each case. Adalat operates at hourly rates from NOK 1200-2500 exclusive value added taxes. This is especially applicable in cases where the case is to be taken to court. Depending on the complexity and scope of the case, the prices may exceed the prices stated here. Otherwise, assignment confirmation will be prepared for the individual case which specifies the terms of the assignment.