Frequently asked questions about Copenhagen Legal Aid
Below you can find answers to the most common questions about Copenhagen Legal Aid and how we assist you with legal matters.
Can I only get free advice if I live in Copenhagen?
No, everybody is welcome to seek free legal advice with the Legal Aid, provided that your income is below our income limits. If you earn more then the income limits, we will provide you high level verbal advice, so you can decide whether to pursue the case further or not.
Do I have a right to get free legal advice from Copenhagen Legal Aid?
No. We are a voluntary legal aid providing pro bono legal advice with voluntary employees working in their spare time. The Legal Aid decides whether to advise in individual matters. However, if we believe that you have reasonable grounds to pursue your case, then we will take on the case whether the amounts at stake are small or large.
Should I expect a long wait to get advice?
We aim to find the right balance between avoiding a long wait for our clients on the one hand, and taking the proper time to advise our clients on the other hand. However, we never know how many clients may show up at any given evening, nor do we know whether the cases are complex or simple. You should therefore prepare to wait for some time and bring something to keep you occupied. All clients wlll however speak with an advisor the same evening.
Can I schedule a meeting in advance?
Generally, it is not possible to schedule a meeting in advance, as we do not know when the relevant advisors will be free to talk. However, if you have an existing case with the legal aid, you can agree on an approximate time to meet with your advisors - and always after 20.00, as we will first serve the new clients that may have been waiting since well before 18.30.
Can I stop by the Legal Aid on any weeknight?
The Legal Aid is open every weeknight. You can see our opening hours here. It is, howver, very important that once you have visited the Legal Aid on a given weeknight, you will become assigned to that specific weeknight in the future. This ensures that you always speak to the same advisors about your case(s), but also ensures that we can provide our free services as efficient as possible. Note that this applies also to new cases - even if your previous case was closed, and should you inquire on another weeknight, our reception staff will kindly ask you to come back on the correct night.
If you have compelling reasons to switch to another weeknight, you have to get this approved on the weeknight that you have been assigned to.
Can I call you instead of inquiring in person?
Yes, we can advise you by phone. We do advise the clients that inquire with us in person first, and then call back clients who have contacted us by phone. You should therefore expect us to call back later in the evening. Please also note that we only provide high level verbal advice over the phone, as it is difficult to provide you with detailed advice without meeting in person and being able to review relevant documents.
Can I be completely anonymous?
The Legal Aid can provide you with high level legal advice on an anonymous basis. However, our advisors are bound by confidentiality and will not share your personal information with anyone, including any authorities. We are a private independent organisation, so you may safely share your case with us.
Can I send emails to the Legal Aid?
No. Most of the advice we provide, requires us to discuss the matter with you directly and to review the relevant files. The way we work, unfortunately does not allow us to provide proper advice by email, nor via social media, facebook or similar. In extraordinary cases, the Legal Aid can exchange information with you via email in an existing matter.
Will anybody else know about my case in the Legal Aid?
No, it is your case and you decide who should know what. We are a private independent organisation without political or other interests and our advisors are bound by confidentiality as lawyers are.
Can I have several case at the same time in the Legal Aid?
Yes, this is not uncommon. It is a precondition though that all the cases are handled by the same advisors, who know you and are able to manage the dependencies between the different cases. Also, this allows us to use our voluntary resources most efficiently. As we have many clients asking for our help, our advisors may have to assist you with one matter at a time.
Will the Legal Aid only provide verbal advice?
No, the Legal Aid will in most cases also be able to write letters to your counterpart and other parties in the matter, if we deem that this is necessary. In some cases, we may find that you are able to pursue the case yourself based on our verbal advice.
Is Copenhagen Legal Aid able to advice me in other languages than Danish?
The Legal Aid's advisors are fluent in Danish and English. Some advisors speak other European or other languages, but we cannot guarantee that you will speak with those advisors, so you may need to bring an interpreter. We will, however, do our very best to advice you even ifour language skills to not match yours.
Do I have to pay for the legal advice in the Legal Aid?
No. Our advice is free. Some complaints boards may require a small fee to process your complaing. That fee you will have to pay yourself, but typically the fee will be returned, if the case is decided in your favour.
Who pays for the Legal Aid's work?
Our advisors are providing their services to our clients free of charge in their spare time and do not receive any salary for their work. The cost of running the Legal Aid is financed by the Danish Government, the City of Copenhagen and private donations.
Are the Legal Aid's advisors trained lawyers?
Our 150-200 advisors all have a law degree, are attorneys-at-law or studying law at the university. They advise within all common areas of law and will therefore generally not be specialists in all such areas. However, across the many skills we have in-house, we will be able to provide you with a qualified advice in most cases that we encounter.
Do I decide how the Legal Aid should help me?
Our advisors will advice you on how to best reach an acceptable solution to your case. You decide whether to follow such advice or which of several options to choose. However, ultimately it is the Legal Aid's advisors will decide what the content of the letters from the Legal Aid will be.
What should I bring, when I visit the Legal Aid?
You should bring all relevant documents. It may also be helpful to prepare a bit from home by organising the documents, so you can easily find what you are looking for when discussing the case with us. If you have been asked to meet in court or if there is a time limit in your case - e.g. to complain about a decision by the authorities - it is very important that you visit us immediately and bring all documents. Otherwise, we may not be able to take on your case. In such case, you should also bring your tax returns from SKAT (the tax authorities) from the two last years. Be careful not to confuse your tax returns with the form showing your anticipated tax for the following year ("forskudsopgørelse"). You should also bring your home insurance papers or other insurance papers, which shows whether you have a legal aid insurance (not for us, but for the courts, if necessary).
Can I send somebody else to the Legal Aid to discuss my case?'
If you are not able to visit us in person, you may send a friend or a family member to inquire about your case. In that case this person needs to bring a power of attorney from you, so we know that we can safely share your confidential information with that person and that he or she may make important decisions in your case on your behalf. We can - if necessary - help draft the power of attorney.
Can the Legal Aid appear in court for me?
No. Our advisors only work in their spare time and cannot appear in court for you. If your case needs to be brought before the courts or if you have been subpoenaed, the Legal Aid will assist you to find a lawyer, who can assist you in the court proceedings, via the Legal Aid's own external law firms. This is, however, only possible if you meet the Legal Aid's income limits and fulfil certain other conditions.
Can Copenhagen Legal Aid recommend a lawyer?
The Legal Aid does not recommend specific lawyers to our clients, but you can see a list of all Danish lawyers and their areas of expertise on the Danish Bar Association's webpage www.advokatnoeglen.dk.