|a means-tested benefit in the form of financial assistance for persons to meet the cost of advice and representation in legal proceedings|
the professional legal assistance given, either at no charge or for a nominal sum, to indigent persons in need of such help. In criminal cases most countries-especially those in which a person accused of a crime enjoys a presumption of innocence-provide the services of a lawyer for those who have insufficient means of their own. In some countries defender offices with salaried personnel, either publicly or privately supported, have been found to be the most economical solution. In other countries where there is no shortage of lawyers skilled in criminal law and trial practice, private lawyers undertake this duty, being assigned by the court or being chosen by the accused person himself. In many countries these private lawyers receive no remuneration or only a nominal fee paid either by the state or from charitable funds. In an increasing number of countries, the provision by the state of a fund sufficient to pay an adequate fee and to cover all allied expenses is considered to be necessary to ensure that the person receiving this aid gets proper service
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