Guide

Legal aid

Last updated: 31 July 2017

Help with legal costs

Legal aid is the help you can sometimes get when you can't afford to pay your own legal costs.

To apply for legal aid, you'll need to find a solicitor that does legal aid work. They'll talk you through your options, let you know if you're likely to get legal aid and help you with the application process.

You'll usually need to show that you can't afford to pay for legal help yourself and your problem is serious. You may have to pay some money towards the legal costs of your case, or pay costs back later. You might not need to pay anything at all, depending on your financial position and the type of legal help you need.

Before you apply for legal aid you should consider all your options for legal help – some could be cheaper or free.

The type of legal aid you apply for depends on the type of legal help you need (you can talk about this with your solicitor):

  • advice and assistance – this can help with the costs of getting legal advice from a solicitor, like information on your rights and options or help with negotiations and paperwork

If needed, your solicitor may be able to represent you in court for:

  • a civil case – e.g. you have housing issues, you're divorcing, have disputes about your children or need help with debt
  • a Children's Hearing – e.g. you're a young person (or their parent/carer) asked to go to a hearing to sort out a problem
  • a criminal case – e.g. you've been accused of a crime or face prison
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Legal aid
Help with legal costs