Can I get legal aid?

This page has been recreated from the Legal Service Commissions website:

Free, confidential and independent legal advice

  • Worried about benefits or tax credits?
  • Having problems with your child’s school?
  • Are your debts out of control?
  • Are you being treated unfairly at work?
  • Are you having problems with your landlord?

Community Legal Advice can help with these kinds of problems if you are eligible for Legal Aid.

Call the helpline now on 0845 345 4345.

Calls cost no more than 4p per minute from a BT landline but calls from mobiles are usually more. Worried about the cost? Ask an adviser to call you back.

The helpline has a translation service if you would like advice in a language other than English or Welsh.

You can apply for Legal Aid from legal advisers who belong to the Community Legal Service. These advisers have met our quality standards and have a contract with the LSC to provide Legal Aid services.


Testing eligibility for civil Legal Aid

The LSC awards civil Legal Aid to those who meet certain conditions:

  • financial means
  • legal merits tests laid down by Parliament.

The Funding Code sets out the help we can provide and the requirements that you need to meet.

Financial eligibility tests look at a client’s income and capital. The legal merits test looks at factors such as the case’s likelihood of success.

Testing eligibility for criminal Legal Aid

In magistrates’ courts, Legal Aid can be granted to defendants who could be imprisoned.

Defendants need to pass a financial means test. Some people automatically pass this test:

  • those who are under the age of 16
  • people aged 16 or 17 with no income and living with their parent or guardian
  • people under 18 and in full-time education
  • those on unemployment benefits.

There is no financial means test for cases heard in the Crown and higher courts.

Legal Aid can be granted to all defendants. The court can issue an order to recover Legal Aid costs if they believe a defendant could have paid for their own defence.

How to appeal

People can appeal if their application for Legal Aid is rejected. You must appeal through your solicitor or adviser.

Contributing to the cost of your Legal Aid

A person may be asked to pay some of the costs of their case. This is means-tested.

If a person wins money or property in a civil case, they may be asked to repay some of their legal costs. This is called the statutory charge.

If they do not have the means to pay immediately, they can:

  • arrange to pay it in installments over time
  • opt for the statutory charge to be placed on the property (which means the money can be reclaimed when the property is sold or becomes part of an estate after their death).



Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the legal information contained on “consumeruk” is accurate, it does not constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act on it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. Neither the Proprietor nor Dean Dunham can assume responsibility and do not accept liability for any damage or loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it.



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