Green Form Scheme
The Green Form Scheme ('the Scheme') is the common name for the Legal Advice and Assistance Scheme.
The Scheme enables a person to receive initial legal advice or a quick resolution to a legal matter. Under the Scheme an Advocate is able to give initial advice upon almost every aspect of Manx Law. Excluded items include dealing with property transactions and matters on behalf of a business or company.
An Advocate can only provide legal advice and assistance under the Scheme if they are included within the Legal Aid Panel of Advocates.
The Advocate will make the application on your behalf.
You cannot be given advice and assistance under the Scheme for the same matter by more than one Advocate without the prior authority of the Legal Aid Certifying Officer ('LACO').
The Advocate cannot carry out any work under the Scheme until the relevant form has been completed and signed by the applicant in their presence (although the form may be posted to a non Isle of Man resident for completion with the permission of the LACO).
Where more than one separate matter is involved, each matter will be subject to a separate application, apart from those dealing with matrimonial proceedings.
An Advocate can only provide legal advice and assistance under the Scheme if their name is included within the Legal Aid Panel of Advocates.
An Advocate can refuse to accept an application if they think it is right to do so. They do not have to disclose their reason to you but must do so to the LACO.
If you do not abide by the requirements of the regulations (e.g. by giving a false statement), then the Legal Aid Committee or the LACO may declare that the advice you received was not given under the Scheme. As a consequence, the Legal Aid Office can claim back from you the amount paid to the Advocate for the
You may, in certain circumstances, be entitled to receive legal advice and assistance from an Advocate in addition to receiving civil legal aid.
Amount of advice permitted under the Scheme
The advice is limited to a maximum of 3 hours work, except when seeking advice in relation to submitting a divorce application, in which case the maximum is 4 hours work.
By exception, the above limits can be extended. The Advocate can submit an application to the LACO for consideration. As part of the extension application, the Advocate is required to explain what work has been undertaken, what further work is planned and the amount of additional funding required. The limit can be extended by a maximum of 6 further hours.
Making an application
If you have a legal problem for which you require advice and you consider that your financial means are limited to such an extent that you are likely to qualify to receive assistance under the Scheme, the first thing you should do is consult an Advocate. You should make it clear to the Advocate that you are seeking their advice under the Green Form Scheme.
Can I change my Advocate in the middle of the proceedings
There is nothing to prevent you from changing Advocates. However, before this can happen the transfer has to be approved by the LACO. This is due to the fact that any transfer will lead to additional costs being incurred under the certificate. In order to consider whether it is reasonable to transfer the legal aid certificate from one Advocate to another, the LACO will seek a report from your Advocate (i.e. the Advocate who has had conduct of the case to date).
Following receipt of the report the LACO will then consider your application to change Advocates. You will be advised of the outcome.
Who decides the amount paid to my Advocate under my legal aid certificate?
The hourly rates payable to an Advocate for work done under a legal aid certificate are prescribed within the prevailing Legal Aid Order and are set by the Treasury. These rates apply to criminal and civil legal aid work.
Once your legal aid funding has concluded the Advocate will submit a bill of costs to the Legal Aid Office for assessment. A Costs Officer will conduct a review of the work done and will certify an amount to be paid.
For further information on Green Form guidance please refer to our document 'A General Guide to Civil Legal Aid'.