If you need help dealing with a legal matter, but can't afford to appoint a solicitor or barrister, you may be eligible to receive Legal Aid.
Legal Aid can:
- help with costs of legal advice or getting someone to speak or negotiate for you
- provide a solicitor or barrister to represent you in court and some tribunals
- provide someone to help and advise you if you're accused of a crime, for example advice at a police station or someone to represent you in court.
If you have been arrested and held at a police station, a police custody officer will help you to get access to Legal Aid.
Under all other circumstances, you have to apply for Legal Aid and show that you qualify to receive it.
- If you're charged with a crime or have to go to court, a solicitor will check if you qualify for Legal Aid. You will automatically qualify if you are under 16 (or under 18 and still in full-time education), or if you receive certain benefits.
- For civil cases, such as debt, family or housing problems, you will need to check if you're eligible to receive legal aid. You will be asked general questions about the legal problem, and about your financial situation, including any benefits you receive.
- If you think you're likely to be eligible, you can then formally apply for Legal Aid.
You may also find it useful to look at our page on Obtaining legal advice
If you need help with a legal problem and aren't eligible to apply for Legal Aid, you may be able to get legal advice and help from one of the following orgnanisations:-
You could also consult a solicitor, though you will probably have to pay for this service.
If you would like to receive independent advice on legal issues, benefits, housing, accessing care and support, your rights as a carer,and a range of other issues, then you can contact the WestminsterCAB.