Legal aid deserts

In large areas of England and Wales, people cannot access legal aid advice for housing or community care. Our legal aid deserts campaign raises awareness of the negative impact caused by reductions in legal aid funding.

Camber sands

Legal aid deserts mean that people on low incomes facing important legal issues are struggling to get the local face-to-face advice they're legally entitled to.

In January 2020, we published a heat map which shows the shortage of providers across the country for community care law. This followed on from the publication in April 2019 of a heat map which showed a similar shortage in housing law.

Community care deserts

Cared-for people fighting to get vital welfare services or remain in their own home are being denied support by a shortage of community care legal aid provision.

Through analysis of data from the Legal Aid Agency directory of providers (September 2019) and the Office of National Statistics (2017) we found that in England and Wales:

  • more than 37 million people in England and Wales live in a local authority area without a single community care legal aid provider, including over 7.5 million people aged 65 and over
  • 78% of local authorities in England and Wales do not have a single community care legal aid provider

Click on your local authority to find out how many community care legal aid providers there are:


View the full map

Housing deserts

Many people across the country on low incomes and facing serious housing situations such as eviction or homelessness are struggling to get the local face-to-face advice that they’re legally entitled to.

We analysed data from the Legal Aid Agency directory of providers (February 2019) and the Office of National Statistics (2017) and found that in England and Wales:

  • 37% of the population live in a local authority area with no housing legal aid providers
  • over half of all local authorities do not provide housing legal aid services

Click on your local authority to find out how many housing legal aid providers there are:


View the full map

Our campaign

We’re urgently calling on the government to:

  • independently review the sustainability of the legal aid system
  • make sure every area in England and Wales has an acceptable number of legal aid providers

Get involved

If you’re a legal professional, we’d like you to share examples of the damage that legal aid deserts have caused in your local area.

Email the campaigns team

If you’re an MP, you may be interested in reading our parliamentary briefing on community care legal aid deserts or on housing legal aid deserts.