The Legal Aid Bureau (LAB), which is under the purview of the Ministry of Law, will be introducing a new system next year to help connect lawyers to those in needy more efficiently.
The LAB provides legal aid to low-income Singaporeans for civil proceedings. At the moment, the LAB offers cases individually to the private sector lawyers registered with the bureau who then decide on whether they want to take up the case.
With the revamp of their website, the LAB wants to a create a more user-friendly platform where solicitors can browse the cases on their own and select the case they wish to work on. Much like an online shopping platform, on this one connects the lawyers and clients.
Director of Legal Aid, Ms Lim Hui Min said at the LAB’s 60th anniversary dinner, “"We will be able to match suitable assigned solicitors to cases much faster, and assigned solicitors can do what best suits their interests and schedules."
Not just useful to lawyers, the revamped site will also ease the application process and allow applicants to stay updated on the status of their applications.
Based on numbers presented by Minister of the PM's Office, Ms Indranee Rajah, the LAB received 9,000 applications – 90% of which partially qualified for help.
Before the LAB offers a case up to lawyers, the applicants are required to pass a merits test to prove that they have good reason to bring their case to court and to qualify for aid.
Based on statistics posted to the LAB website, almost half the cases for which aid was requested in 2016 were matrimonial cases while almost 98% of applicants required either legal advice or legal aid – the balance 2% sought only legal assistance.
Head over to the LAB website to learn more about the Legal Aid Bureau and how to submit an application.