Understanding the process
The aim of legal assistance is to allow individuals ("natural persons") who have insufficient resources to defend their rights in court.
In exceptional cases, it can also be granted to non-profit-making legal entities with headquarters in the Principality, on condition that their activity or circumstances appear to be particularly pertinent to the subject of the lawsuit and if they are unable to pay the expected costs of the trial.
Legal assistance applies to all aspects of law.
In criminal cases, it can only be granted to the plaintiff.
Legal assistance is refused to anyone who is clearly devoid of all rights to take legal action or for matters for which the Monegasque courts are not competent.
The annual income for persons seeking legal assistance must not exceed 20,000 euros.
The following are taken into account when calculating an applicant's revenue:
- Salaries (except salaries paid for work of a duration of less than three months during the year in question)
- Rental income
- Income from investments
- Additional retirement income and complementary allowances
- Maintenance allowances, contributions and compensatory payments
- Invalidity allowances
- Benefits paid to people with disabilities
- Benefits paid for accidents at work
At the discretion of the office dealing with the application for legal assistance, the benchmark for income taken into consideration for the purpose of the calculations may be subject to alteration, depending on the particular financial responsibilities or family-related expenses incurred by the applicant, on the basis of supporting documents, which must be provided on request.
Applications for legal assistance should be made in writing to the general court registry.
The application should include details of:
- The applicant's full name, address and age and place of birth
- His or her nationality, occupation and domicile
- The applicant's family circumstances and the number of children, whether dependents or not, if applicable
- The nature of the legal proceedings relating to the application
You must provide any relevant documents that mention your financial resources, such as (non-exhaustive list):
- A bank reference
- A reference from your employer
- Documents from Social Services
- Divorce ruling or other legal rulings
- Tax declarations, tax assessment statement or statement of non-taxation
- A tenancy agreement for the main residence
- The family record booklet
If you do not have the supporting documents, an affidavit stating your financial situation can be provided.
- If you have insurance cover for legal expenses (this should be mentioned in your application): a declaration from the insurance company stating that the cover has not been taken out for the legal proceedings in question
You should notify the general court registry immediately of any change in resources, financial situation or family expenses.
In the case of a non-profit-making legal entity with headquarters in the Principality, the following documents must be provided:
- The statutes of the association
- If the association is Government approved, the Ministerial Order setting out the approval
- The annual report
Your application and supporting documents should be submitted to the General Court Registry.
In urgent cases: the procedure for temporary admittance
In urgent cases, and when the legal proceedings put the applicant's basic livelihood at risk, legal assistance can be granted provisionally by the president of the legal assistance office, by written request.
The applicant is notified immediately in writing of the decision to grant legal assistance on a provisional basis.
If the request for provisional acceptance is refused, the decision cannot be appealed against. The applicant, can, however, make a request according to the normal procedure.
The beneficiary of legal assistance must, within one month of the decision to grant legal assistance on a provisional basis, comply with the usual procedural requirements to enable the office to make a definitive ruling. Failing this, the office will consider that the beneficiary is deprived of his or her rights. If the legal assistance is revoked or refused, the applicant must pay the fees and costs incurred on his or her behalf.
Reminder: In the case of an accident at work, legal assistance is given ipso jure. Therefore, no application is necessary.