Legal Aid UK Rules and Regulations

Legal aid can provide assistance to those who are otherwise unable to pay for legal representation. Read through this section to see if you can claim legal aid in the United Kingdom. Note: As a rule, you will need to show that you cannot afford to pay for this type of help. In some cases, you may need to contribute some money towards the legal costs of the case or pay costs back at a later date.

WHAT IS LEGAL AID? It is a provision that can help you meet the costs of legal advice.

Civil legal aid can also assist in family mediation cases or representation in a court or at a tribunal.

In most cases, to claim legal aid you will need to show that:

  • The issue or case is a serious problem.
  • The case qualifies for legal aid.
  • You are unable to pay for the legal costs yourself.

If a solicitor or a barrister is representing you, they can apply for legal aid on your behalf. If not, you can check if you can get legal aid by answering some basic questions online at Civil Legal Advice.

Typical Problems Legal Aid Covers

You may not be able to afford the costs of legal advice or the fees for having someone speak or negotiate for you. In this case, providing you qualify and legal aid covers the problem, you could get:

  • Expert advice on your options for a particular case and your legal rights in the United Kingdom.
  • Specialised help with negotiations, translations, and dealing with official paperwork (e.g. at a police station).
  • A barrister or a solicitor to prepare a case and speak in court or at certain tribunals on your behalf.

Note: The rules and regulations of legal aid differ in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.

UK legal aid does not cover every eventuality. But, some of the most common problems that it does cover is if:

Exceptional Case Funding (ECF)

The ECF team is part of the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) and deals with funding for exceptional cases. You may qualify for Exceptional Case Funding if your problem falls outside the scope of legal aid. Eligibility for ECF would depend on whether being refused legal aid would infringe:

  • Your European Union rights to legal representation.
  • Your rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

It may be best to get a legal adviser to check whether you qualify and how to apply. But, you can also apply to the Exceptional Case Funding team at the LAA.


Legal Aid Eligibility Criteria

In most cases, the qualification criteria for legal aid would depend on two factors. It’s determined by your financial situation and the type of civil case involved.

How to Claim Legal Aid

The legal adviser or family mediator will explain how to claim legal aid. They will apply on your behalf and recover their costs from the government if you qualify.

Victims of Domestic Abuse or Violence

It has become easier for the victims of domestic abuse or violence to get legal aid. Find out what evidence you, or your children, need to get help paying the legal costs.

Legal Aid for Problems Abroad

A publicly funded solicitor can help you with an application for legal problems abroad. In most cases they can also help you get documents translated.

Rules for Claiming Legal Aid in United Kingdom