Posted on: Friday, February 15 /2008
LAO is piloting a new online application and eligibility process for clients who meet certain criteria. The Simplified Online Application Portal (SOAP) is testing a new Internet based service that may eventually allow community service providers such as shelters, drop-in centres and lawyers to submit web based legal aid applications for clients.
The new system could possibly expand the access points for legal aid services, especially for certain groups of clients already dealing with service providers at convenient locations or in familiar environments.
In developing SOAP, legal eligibility criteria were analyzed to determine which cases usually qualify for the certificate program.
About 40 per cent of all applicants meet both the financial and legal criteria for certificate coverage because of their financial status and/or the seriousness of their legal matter.
That's why SOAP's focus is on this group of clearly eligible clients. It opens up the possibility that one day will enable lawyers and service providers to submit certificate applications and start work on a client's case more quickly.
Using the SOAP process, clients receive a Confirmation of Legal Aid Eligibility instead of a certificate. Lawyers access the Online Lawyer Acknowledgement (OLA) portal by entering the intake number listed on the client's Confirmation of Legal Aid Eligibility form to acknowledge and print the legal aid certificate.