Legal aid

  • Table of contents

    Legal aid and access to justice

    Legal aid performs a crucial role in providing fair and equal access to justice to those most at risk of being excluded from our legal system.

    If you need help with paying for legal advice, you may be able to get legal aid.

    Where do I find a legal aid solicitor?

    You can search for firms who provide legal aid on our Find a Solicitor website (use 'quick search' to choose your legal issue and enter your location. Then click on 'more options' and select the option 'Accepts legal aid').

    You can also search for a legal adviser or family mediator with a legal aid contract in England and Wales on the government website.

    Cases where you can get legal aid

    Crime:

    • eg being arrested, charged or questioned by the police

    Civil issues:

    Family:

    • family mediation to resolve disputes about children and finance on a relationship breakdown
    • social services being involved with your children
    • injunctions against a violent or abusive partner or family member
    • other family problems if you or your child have suffered or are at risk of violence or abuse
    • forced marriages
    • if your child has been or is about to be taken out of the country without your consent
    • some High Court proceedings about the welfare of your child
    • if you have been served with proceedings under the Hague Convention

    Housing:

    • possession proceedings and eviction - including counterclaims for disrepair
    • unlawful eviction
    • homelessness including asylum support for accommodation
    • anti-social behaviour cases
    • harassment injunctions
    • serious disrepair

    Asylum and immigration:

    • asylum applications
    • detention
    • applying for indefinite leave to remain after relationship breakdown due to domestic violence or an EU citizenship applying to stay after domestic violence
    • applying to stay as a victim of trafficking
    • proceedings before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC)
    • Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures(TPIM) notices
    • applications for asylum support (if you have applied for housing and financial support)

    Debt:

    • if you might lose your home because of mortgage arrears
    • if a creditor is taking you to court to sell your home
    • if a creditor is making you bankrupt

    Welfare benefits and council tax reduction:

    • only for appeals to the Upper Tribunal, High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court

    Mental health/mental capacity:

    • for representation at the mental health tribunals if you are detained in hospital
    • advice if you have been sectioned, Court of Protection cases and appeals against deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS)

    Education:

    • if you disagree with a special educational needs decision about your child

    Discrimination:

    • if you have been unlawfully discriminated against

    Community care:

    • if you need help or services from the local authority and/or the NHS because of illness, disability or mental capacity (including Court of Protection cases)
    • disputes about the quality of care in residential, nursing homes and hospitals, and abuse/neglect issues

    Other cases:

    • children with brain (neurological) injuries resulting in severe disability, which arises during pregnancy, childbirth or up to eight weeks' postnatal (not all injuries are covered)
    • assistance at inquests (strict criteria apply)
    • protection from harassment
    • advice on disabled facilities grants, on civil claims re abuse and sexual assault allegations, confiscation proceedings, gang-related violence, nuisance caused by environmental pollution and cross-border disputes
    • an appeal against a decision stopping you from working with children and vulnerable adults
    • exceptional case funding is available in some cases for human rights issues

    How do I find out if I'm eligible for legal aid?

    Legal aid is dependent on your financial position and also the strength of your case. You can find out if you're eligible by using the following resources:

    • Citizens Advice website - explains the financial conditions for getting civil legal aid
    • Government website - includes an online tool to check if you can get legal aid
    • Civil Legal Advice helpline: call 0345 345 4345