If you're having legal problems or are accused of a crime and you can't afford to pay for a legal adviser, you may be able to get legal aid from the Legal Services Commission.
How it works
Community Legal Advice is a free and confidential service funded by the Legal Services Commission. It offers help and advice on the following issues:
- divorce, separation and dissolved civil partnership
- employment problems and disputes (including tribunals)
- mediation and other family matters
- welfare benefits, credit and debt problems
- housing and property disputes
- immigration and nationality queries
- clinical negligence cases
- challenges to decisions by government departments and other public bodies
- actions against the police and others
Who is eligible?
If you need specialist help, you can use the online calculator on the GOV.UK website to work out if you're likely to qualify financially for legal assistance.
Even if you don't qualify for financial help, you can get general information, including advice leaflets, free on the website.
When you apply for legal aid, you will also have to do a test which looks at the merits of your case.Legal aid eligibility
Personal injury cases
You can't get public funding anymore for most personal injury cases. If you want to bring a personal injury case, you'll normally have to do so on a conditional fee ('no win, no fee') basis.
But public funding is still available for certain complex and expensive personal injuries cases.
How to apply
To apply for help from Community Legal Advice, you need to visit a quality-assured solicitor or adviser.
You'll find a list of these solicitors and advisers in your area in the directory on the Community Legal Advice website. You can also contact the Community Legal Advice helpline on 0845 345 4 345.
If you're under police investigation or facing criminal charges, you have a right to legal advice and a fair trial and can get help from the Criminal Defence Service.
Depending on your resources, you may be asked to pay towards the cost of your case. You'll also be expected to meet the cost of your case out of any property you recover or keep as a result of the help you get.
What else you should know about legal aid
In Scotland legal aid is administered by the Scottish Legal Aid Board. In Northern Ireland legal aid is administered by the Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission.
More useful links
- On a low income - benefits information
- Crisis loans
- Victims of crime
- Responding to a County Court claim
- Find out about your local MP
- Unfair dismissal (employment section)
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