Who can receive free legal aid

When your need for legal assistance can be covered in another way

If your need for assistance can be covered in another way/under a different scheme you will generally not be eligible for free legal aid. This applies for example if you have an insurance policy which covers your expenses for legal assistance or you are a member of an association which covers such expenses. The same applies if public institutions can give you information and guidance about the case for which you are applying for free legal aid. In such cases you must utilise these arrangements.
 

Income and capital eligibility limits for free legal aid

In order to receive free legal aid you must have gross income and net assets below certain stipulated thresholds. For a single person the income threshold is NOK 246 000 and the assets threshold is NOK 100 000. For a married couple and other cohabitants with a joint economy their joint gross income and net assets form the basis for the calculation. The income threshold is then NOK 369 000 and the assets threshold is NOK 100 000.

It is the gross annual income that forms the basis for calculation. Non-taxable income is not included in the basis for calculation. Information regarding the applicant’s financial situation shall be reported using the self-declaration form. Financial data shall be documented with copies of the applicant’s tax return, wage slip or social security payment receipts.

When assessing high-value items, such as a house, holiday home, car or boat, the taxable value at the time of the latest tax assessment shall form the basis for the assessment. In this assessment assets made up of an owner-occupier dwelling or operating assets of normal value are disregarded. When a spouse has received a cash share in settlement and all or most of this sum is used to acquire a home within a reasonable period of time, the cash amount is deemed to be tied up in the home.

Even if your income and assets exceed the thresholds you may in exceptional cases be eligible for free legal aid if your cost for legal assistance is significant relative to your income and assets.
 

In which cases can you receive free legal aid as free legal advice?

Some cases are of such major significance to the individual that there is an entitlement to free legal advice regardless of the applicant's income and assets. This applies for example to appeals against applications for asylum and some types of compensation cases. These cases are prioritised for the purposes of free legal advice.

In other cases which are prioritised for the purposes of free legal advice you must have income and assets below the thresholds set out above. This includes for example cases concerning divorce settlement and children, personal injury, unfair or unlawful dismissal or eviction, compensation for victims of violent crimes and appeals against decisions pursuant to the National Insurance Act.

In exceptional circumstances free legal aid may also be granted in other types of cases if they are of particular importance to you and similar to the prioritised case types.

More information about which cases free legal advice is available for can be found in The Act Relating to Free Legal Aid § 11.
 

In which cases can you receive free legal aid as free legal representation?

Regardless of your income and assets you are entitled to free legal representation in some prioritised cases. Such cases include i.a. child-welfare cases, cases relating to compensation for victims of violent crimes against the perpetrator and cases regarding forced marriage.

In other prioritised free legal representation cases your income and assets must fall below the thresholds. This applies for example to family cases such as divorce settlement and parental custody, personal injury cases, unfair or unlawful dismissal or eviction.

In exceptional circumstances legal aid may also be granted in other types of cases if they are of particular importance to you and similar to the prioritised case types.

More information about which cases free legal representation is available for can be found in The Act Relating to Legal aid §§ 16 and 17.
 

Client’s contribution

If you receive free legal aid you must pay a share of the expenses if you have an annual gross income of NOK 100 000 or more. This share cannot be waived or reduced. However, if you receive free legal aid in a case where the income and assets thresholds do not apply you do not have to pay this share.

If you receive free legal advice the share you have to pay is 1 x the public fee rate, which from 1st January 2013 is NOK 945. If you receive free legal representation the share you have to pay is 25% of expenses, up to a maximum amount of 5 x the public fee rate, i.e. NOK 4 725.

The share you have to pay is retained by your legal counsel, and the general rule is that the fee is paid in advance.