If your case is eligible, you may qualify for legal aid. Here are some of the situations that are covered:

  • You or your family are at risk of harm, such as from domestic violence or forced marriage
  • You’ve been in an abusive relationship and need advice on finances, children or divorce
  • You or a family member are aged, disabled or have special needs, and are getting poor quality care
  • There is a risk that a child in your family will be taken into care
  • You are at risk of losing your home or becoming homeless
  • You want family mediation because you are separating or getting divorced

Those are just a few examples; you can also apply for legal aid in certain other cases.

Legal aid solicitors will help you apply.

But first, you will have to prove that you can’t afford to pay the costs yourself. For example, we may need to see evidence of your income, including benefits, savings and property, as well as evidence of your spending.

If you qualify and your problem is covered, legal aid will help pay for advice on your rights and options, and help with negotiations and paperwork. It will also cover your solicitor or barrister costs for preparing your case and speaking on your behalf.

If you do get legal aid, please note that you may still have to pay some of the legal costs yourself, whether at the time or later.

If your claim is for less than £1,000, you may not need a solicitor at all, as you will normally be able to represent yourself at the small claims court. We can advise if this is the case.

Legal aid: Background

Legal aid currently costs the Government around £1.5bn, reduced from £2.1bn.

It was introduced in 1949, to give formal legal advice, free, to those who need it.

Other sources of free advice include the Internet, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau charity, and the Government-funded Community Legal Advice service.

Please note that legal aid rules are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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