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.
UK legal aid does not cover every eventuality. But, some of the most common problems that it does cover is if:
- You got arrested by the police or charged with committing a crime and facing a prison sentence or detention.
- Either you or your family (including children) are at risk of serious harm or in an abusive relationship (e.g. a forced marriage or domestic violence).
- A child in your family is risk of being taken into care by the local council.
- You are in need of family mediation (e.g. getting a divorce or separating).
- Your home is in serious disrepair, you risk losing it, or becoming a victim of homelessness.
- You are adding legal arguments or bringing a case under the Human Rights Act.
- Someone, or an organisation, is discriminating against you.
- You or a family member receive poor quality care due to age, a disability, or special educational needs (SEN).
- You need representation at a Mental Health Tribunal or inquest.
- You are challenging the way government made a decision about you.
- You are appealing a decision made by the social security tribunal about your welfare benefits.
- You are seeking asylum in the United Kingdom or if you are the victim of human trafficking.
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).
ALSO IN THIS SECTION
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.