Where do I have to go if I need a lawyer or if I need money for legal proceedings?
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Application for Legal Aid
Every person in Germany can hire a lawyer (Anwalt/Anwältin) and/or go to court to get justice. Both does cost money. Those who have little money can get help for this from the court (Gericht).
For a consultation with a lawyer, you can get a consultation voucher at the legal application office (Rechtsantragsstelle) of the local court (Amtsgericht). There, however, it is first checked whether a consultation with a lawyer is really necessary – so you have to justify to the legal application office (Rechtsantragsstelle) why you need a lawyer. And it is checked whether you really have too little income to pay the costs yourself (this is the case, for example, if you get citizen’s allowance / Bürgergeld) – so the legal application office wants to see proof of income (e.g. Jobcenter notice). You first have to go to the legal application office and get the consultation certificate (Beratungsschein), and only then may you go to a lawyer with the consultation certificate.
When you file a lawsuit with a court to get your right, the court charges you money for it. Also these costs can possibly be taken care of by the state. This involves checking whether you have a good chance of winning the case. This is called legal aid (Prozesskostenhilfe). The application for this is made by the lawyer who also files the lawsuit (Klage). Again, you can only get this help with proof of low income.
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