Legal aid for pro bono clinics

If you're a solicitor offering pro bono services, our guide can help you check whether your clients qualify for legal aid.

Legal aid is important for providing equal access to justice for people who need legal help but cannot afford to pay for it.

This guide is for solicitors who offer pro bono services but who are not specialists in legal aid.

It helps you understand:

  • when clients may qualify for legal aid
  • where funding is still available and
  • how to refer clients to legal aid solicitors

It can be used by anyone providing pro bono services, including:

  • Citizens Advice
  • The Personal Support Unit
  • law centres
  • university law clinics
  • pro bono clinics staffed by law firms and chambers
  • any other organisations that provide pro bono advice

Why we produced this guide

In April 2013, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act came into force and introduced cuts in funding to legal aid. This means that:

  • fewer people can get legal aid
  • it’s more complicated to find out if someone’s eligible for legal aid
  • those eligible for legal aid find it hard to access

This has led to more people relying on pro bono services for legal help. This increased pressure on services means it’s important they’re used as efficiently as possible.

Identifying pro bono clients who are eligible for legal aid will free up more of your time to provide pro bono services.


Check if you can get legal aid on GOV.UK

Check if your clients live in a legal aid desert

The Pro Bono Recognition List of England and Wales, under the patronage of the lady chief justice, is now open for submissions.

Find out who is eligible and how to apply.

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