Eligibility Criteria

for legal aid

Poor and vulnerable persons can visit any of JCLA’s legal clinics when in need of legal advice. If a person requires ongoing assistance they will need to meet JCLA’s eligibility criteria for legal representation. This criteria, which is revised on an annual basis to ensure it continues to comply with JCLA’s mission, consist of three main tests, set out below. A person must pass all three tests in order to receive legal representation. This assessment is applied indiscriminately (ie regardless of the person’s nationality, gender, legal status or other ground of discrimination) and aims to ensure JCLA provides legal representation to persons who are extremely vulnerable and in need of legal assistance.

Can the person afford a private lawyer? (the “means” test)

If the person can afford a private lawyer, he or she will not be eligible for legal representation from JCLA. Our means test looks at a person's income and assets in conjunction with their personal circumstances.  For example if the person:

  • heads a family of six and earns 400JD or less per month (reduced or increased by 25JD per family member);
  • has non-stable work (such as seasonal workers);
  • is unemployed due to documented health reasons (with no source of alternative income);
  • receives financial aid from the National Aid fund, Zakat Fund or Tkiyet Um Ali.  

Other personal circumstances may mean that a poor and vulnerable person who falls lightly above the income criteria will meet the means test. These personal circumstances include a person who financially supports more than six dependents, a member of a family that has at least one child at university, and a person who has a dependent that suffers from a chronic illness or has an uninsured medical disability.

Does the person have a legal problem that JCLA deals with (the “suitability” test)?

JCLA provides legal representation for cases that ultimately affect the rights and freedoms of poor and vulnerable people in the areas of civil, criminal and family (sharia) law.  JCLA will not take up cases that relate to:

  • Profit/obtaining additional assets, such as corporate and intellectual property cases, government acquisition of property for public use, insurance or compensation cases, and division of property cases (except for those related to the arbitrary deprivation of inheritance of women (in particular widows) and orphans);
  • Drug trafficking, unless the beneficiary is a juvenile (below the age of 18);
  • Divorce, where the applicant/plaintiff knowingly gives up all rights (“eftida’a”/“khula”). However, JCLA provides legal advice to vulnerable women considering “eftida’a”.

Will providing legal representation assist the person? (the “merit” test)?

For civil and family (sharia) cases, JCLA will also look at whether the matter has reasonable prospects of succeeding, and whether legal representation is necessary to achieve a positive outcome.  Given JCLA's scarce resources, this test enables the organisation to better allocate its funding to cases where it will be able to provide assistance. JCLA will not provide representation to persons who have limited to no prospects of succeeding with their case, where the person is found to be vexatious, or if the person is no longer engaging with the legal consultant. 

Please (contact us) if you would like to discuss your eligibility for legal representation with JCLA.