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.