Guidance

Apply for legal aid

Legal aid application forms and guidance for civil and crime work: apply online or through CCMS, deal with high cost or exceptional cases.

How to apply

If you think your client may qualify for legal aid, you’ll need to:

  • help your client fill in the forms or apply online
  • help your client get the right evidence
  • complete the checklist
  • send to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) or, for criminal work, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS)

Categories of law

The 2 main categories of law paid for by the LAA are civil (including controlled work) and criminal.

There are also a number of cases outside of mainstream funding:

Make a civil application

When you’ve checked your client’s eligibility for civil legal aid, fill in 1 of the civil means-testing forms and the appropriate civil application forms as required by the LAA.

You can also apply online through the Client and Cost Management System (CCMS) if you have been invited to use the system. You can access CCMS through the online portal.

Controlled work applications

Find the controlled work forms you need before applying for legal help funding or for controlled legal representation at mental health tribunal proceedings or before the first-tier tribunal in asylum or immigration.

Supply the correct evidence

Make sure you have the correct evidence, eg bank statements or remittance slips. What’s needed is stated on the individual forms but incorrect or incomplete evidence remains a common reason for applications being delayed or rejected.

CCMS will provide an evidence checklist as part of the online application process.

Complete the checklist (paper applications only)

Many applications are rejected for avoidable reasons, eg the form is left unsigned, not dated or is incomplete.

You can save time by following the checklist for new applications.

Where to send your forms

Legal Aid Agency
Unit B8, Berkley Way, Viking Business Park
Jarrow, South Tyneside
NE31 1SF

Email: contactcivil@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

Phone: 0300 200 2020

DX: 742350 Jarrow

Where to send controlled work forms

Mental Health Unit, Immigration & Asylum: Controlled Work and Escaped Fee Claims
Legal Aid Agency
Level 6, The Capital
Union Street
Liverpool L3 9AF

Email: Liverpool@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

DX: 745810 Liverpool 35

Email: mhu-ec@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

Phone: 0151 235 6750

Uploading documents for online applications made through CCMS

You can either upload documents directly onto CCMS or send documents to be scanned to:

Legal Aid Agency
(Document Scanning Centre)
PO Box 509
Sale M33 6RN

DX: 745770 Sale 11

Length of application process for paper and online applications

85% of applications for civil legal aid are processed in 20 working days.

85% of applications for more funds to progress a case are processed in 10 working days.

Go to this page for more information about civil processing dates

How to get paid

When your case comes to a close, you’ll need to get paid. You will need to submit a claim.

Further questions

If you have queries about your application or if it’s been stalled or refused and you don’t know why, email: contactcivil@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

If you have queries about your online application made through CCMS, you should submit a case query through the system. If you are unable to do this, email: contactcivil@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

For general queries contact your Contract Manager.

Email for casework queries: CCMSCasework@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

Phone for casework queries: 0191 428 3701

Email for technical support: online-support@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

Phone for technical support: 0203 334 6664

More information and guidance is also available on the CCMS website.

Always put the correct information in the email subject header so it gets to the right department.

Stage Example email header
Initial stages Merits App1 Client Ref No
Means assessment Means Further Information Client Ref No
Querying or chasing the bill Solicitor Bill Claim1 Client Ref No
Family graduated fees or family advocacy Counsel Bill Claim5 Case Ref No

If you don’t have a client reference number, use your client’s name and date of birth or address.

If your client’s application is refused, you can appeal. Depending on what you applied for, there may be an appeal form with your reply or if you applied through CCMS, you can appeal online. Find out more about legal aid appeals.

Make a crime application

To apply for criminal legal aid for legal representation in the courts, your client must complete form CRM14 and where applicable form CRM15.

They’ll need to pass a means test (financial) and a merits test, Interests of Justice (IoJ), to ensure they’re eligible for criminal legal aid.

Apply online (crime)

Use the CRM14 eForm in place of the paper CRM14 and CRM15 forms to apply for criminal legal aid online. This is only available in some areas however we are in the process of rolling it out nationally. Find out more about eForms including whether the CRM14 is available in your area.

Supply the correct evidence

The individual forms and guidance tell you what evidence is needed. Not supplying it is a common reason for applications being delayed and rejected.

Sign and date forms

Many applications are rejected for avoidable reasons, eg the form is left unsigned, not dated or is incomplete. Please remember to check your forms before sending. This could save you time later.

Where to send your forms

Most applications for criminal legal aid are currently sent to the magistrates’ court where your client’s case will be heard. This includes cases which end up in the crown court.

It’s important to note that during 2014/15, the processing of criminal applications is transferring to the LAA. Please see the criminal legal aid processing page for further information.

Applications should be sent to the Nottingham Criminal Applications Team (CAT) for cases being heard in the following HMCTS clusters:

  • Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire
  • Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire
  • London Central and South magistrates

Applications should be sent to the Birmingham CAT for cases being heard in the following HMCTS clusters:

  • West Midlands and Warwickshire
  • Staffordshire and West Mercia
  • Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley

Applications should be sent to Liverpool CAT process for cases being heard in the following HMCTS clusters:

  • Cheshire and Merseyside
  • London North and West (i.e. the work previously processed by Havering)

Office Details

Applications and correspondence should be sent to:

Criminal Applications Team (CAT) Birmingham

Address

Legal Aid Agency CAT
1st Floor, Cannon House
18 The Priory
Queensway
Birmingham
B4 6BS

DX: 13041 Birmingham 1

Email: BirminghamCAT@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

Phone: 0121 232 5500

Criminal Applications Team (CAT) Nottingham

Address:

Legal Aid Agency - CAT
Fothergill House
16 King Street
Nottingham NG1 2AS

DX: 10035 Nottingham 1

Email: NottinghamCAT@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

Phone: 0115 852 6000

Criminal Applications Team (CAT) Liverpool

Address:

Legal Aid Agency – CAT
Level 6
The Capital
Union Street
Liverpool
L3 9AF

DX: 745810 Liverpool 35

Email: LiverpoolCAT@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

Phone: 0151 235 6750

Length of application process

Our targets are as follows:

  • 95% of criminal legal aid applications to be processed in 2 working days (100% in 6 working days)
  • 100% of administrative appeals to be processed in 2 working days

Complex means

Within LAA, the National Court Team (NCT) deals with around 2% of all applications for criminal legal aid where the client’s finances are complicated, ie ‘complex means’ or a request for review on the grounds of hardship or eligibility is submitted.

NCT Nottingham

Address:

Fothergill House
16 King Street
Nottingham NG1 2AS

DX: 10035 Nottingham 1

Email: Nottingham.NCT@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

Phone: 0115 852 6000

NCT Liverpool
Address:
Level 6,
The Capital,
Union Street,
Liverpool
L3 9AF

DX: 745810 Liverpool 35

Email: Liverpool.NCT@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

Phone: 0151 235 6750

Further questions

For queries about your client’s application, contact the relevant magistrates’ court or CAT directly.

For queries regarding the decision to revoke a legal aid certificate, contact the Legal Aid Agency directly.

For queries about a revocation debt, contact the debt recovery company directly:

Rossendales Ltd
PO Box 324
Rossendale
BB4 0GE

DX: 745020 Helmshore

Phone: 0844 701 3981

Complaints

If you wish to make a complaint about any application for legal aid, please go to our complaints procedure.

How to get paid

When your case comes to a close, you’ll need to get paid using legal aid: crime claim forms.

Lord Chancellor’s guidance