Guidance

Legal aid guidance

General information including on costs assessment and remuneration for civil and crime matters.

Applies to England and Wales

Civil

Lord Chancellor's guide to determining financial eligibility for controlled work and family mediation (September 2023) (PDF, 427 KB, 47 pages)

Gateway removal - Guidance on transitional arrangements (PDF, 419 KB, 1 page) details certain aspects of legal aid such as:

  • prior authorities (including authorities for counsel and experts in Children Act cases)
  • funding for cases outside England and Wales

Paying for your civil legal aid (PDF, 510 KB, 6 pages) helps clients with civil legal problems.

Contact details desk aid: criminal (PDF, 119 KB, 3 pages)

Guidance on backdating (PDF, 190 KB, 8 pages)

Lord Chancellor’s guidance

Lord Chancellor's guidance on determining financial eligibility for certificated work (August 2023) (PDF, 918 KB, 119 pages)

Lord Chancellor's guidance - exceptional case funding (inquests) (September 2023) (PDF, 210 KB, 8 pages)

Lord Chancellor's guidance - exceptional case funding (non-inquests) (July 2023) (PDF, 327 KB, 21 pages)

Notice to the Director of Legal Aid Casework: Lord Chancellor’s guidance on exceptional funding (non inquests) (PDF, 10.3 KB, 1 page)

Post-judgment notice to Director of Legal Aid Casework (DLAC): IS v DLAC and The Lord Chancellor: ECF Guidance (non-inquests) (PDF, 23.1 KB, 1 page)

Evidence requirements for private family law matters guidance (PDF, 438 KB, 35 pages)

Lord Chancellor's guide to determining financial eligibility for controlled work and family mediation (September 2023) (PDF, 427 KB, 47 pages)

Costs assessment guidance

The costs assessment guidance has been amended to take account of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

There are 3 versions of the costs assessment guidance: one for use with the 2010 Standard Civil Contracts, one for use with the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Standard Civil Contracts and the third for use with the 2018 Standard Civil Contract.

For use with the 2018 contract:

Narrative and guidance: legal aid (PDF, 315 KB, 29 pages)

Costs assessment guidance (2018) (PDF, 1.1 MB, 106 pages)

Costs assessment guidance 2018 - version 10 - December 2023 (PDF, 1.07 MB, 106 pages)

For use with the 2013, 2014 and 2015 contract:

Costs Assessment Guidance 2013, 2014, 2015 - Version 14 (December 2023) (PDF, 1.03 MB, 109 pages) sets out the Legal Aid Agency’s approach to costs assessment where work is undertaken in the magistrates’ court under a representation order. The guidance is applied when assessing non standard fee claims and for costs compliance audits on fee claims.

Providing advice to immigration detainees in prison (PDF, 142 KB, 6 pages)

For use with the 2010 contract:

Costs assessment guidance (2010) (PDF, 736 KB, 64 pages)

Costs assessment guidance tracked changes (2010) (PDF, 742 KB, 64 pages)

Other guidance

Remote Family Hearings: updated ways of working (PDF, 274 KB, 3 pages)

Lord Chancellor's guidance (under section 4 of LASPO) (May 2023) (PDF, 509 KB, 64 pages)

Changes to the 2018 Immigration Specification (October 2020) (PDF, 246 KB, 5 pages)

Position of the Legal Aid Agency as to undertaking work with the National Centre for Domestic Violence (PDF, 338 KB, 1 page)

Civil finance electronic handbook (PDF, 2 MB, 207 pages)

LAA statutory charge position statement (PDF, 492 KB, 3 pages)

Crime

The Crown Court guidance covers all aspects of Crown Court legal aid fees under the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS) and Litigators’ Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS).

Case enquiry contact lists

Contact details desk aid: civil (PDF, 298 KB, 4 pages)

Case enquiry contact lists for advocates

Contact details desk aid: advocates (PDF, 389 KB, 5 pages)

Published 1 June 2014
Last updated 4 September 2023 + show all updates
  1. Published updated Lord Chancellor's guidance on determining financial eligibility for certificated work, exceptional funding (inquests), and exceptional funding (non-inquests). Published Lord Chancellor's guidance on determining financial eligibility for controlled work and family mediation.

  2. Updated civil finance handbook v3.4

  3. Crime contact details desk aid updated to reflect a change to the name and email addresses for one of our teams – Criminal Finance is now Magistrates Billing.

  4. Update after change in monarch.

  5. Introdcution to early billing for Asylum matters

  6. Updated version of Statutory Charge Manual

  7. Civil Finance Electronic Handbook updated to version 3.2.1.

  8. Introduction of advice for Immigration and Asylum detainees in prison in response to successful challenge

  9. Substitute the Criminal Bills Assessment Guidance with a newer version

  10. The following documents have been updated: Cost Assessment Guidance 2018, Cost Assessment Guidance 2018 (tracked changes), Cost Assessment Guidance 2013, and Cost Assessment Guidance 2013 (tracked changes).

  11. The following documents have been updated: Cost Assessment Guidance 2018, Cost Assessment Guidance 2018 (tracked changes), Cost Assessment Guidance 2013, and Cost Assessment Guidance 2013 (tracked changes).

  12. Narrative and guidance: legal aid updated following EU Exit.

  13. Costs assessment guidance has been amended to take account of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

  14. change EU rights to retained EU rights on Laspo Doc

  15. Published new version of the Civil Finance Electronic Handbook. These changes are part of our preparations for exiting the European Union once the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

  16. A new version of the Lord Chancellor's guidance (under section 4 of LASPO) has been published. These changes are part of our preparations for exiting the European Union once the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

  17. Version 9 of the Criminal Bills Assessment Manual published.

  18. Guidance on the changes to the 2018 Immigration specification published.

  19. New version of Civil Finance electronic handbook uploaded.

  20. New version of the Civil Finance Electronic Handbook uploaded.

  21. Changes have been made to the Cost Assessment Guidance documents to support the further amendments to the LAA's payment on accounts procedures.

  22. Updated Evidence Requirements for Private Family Law Matters guidance published.

  23. Updated version of 'Lord Chancellor's Guidance' uploaded and 'Gateway Removal Guidance' uploaded.

  24. An update of the the 'Remote Family Hearings: updated ways of working' document has been published.

  25. We have made minor amendments to version 8 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012 - Evidence Requirements for Private Family Law Matters) 2012 (8th Jan 2018) in order to relax the evidence requirements needed to be submitted by victims of DV and CA in order for those individuals to still be able to submit evidence alongside their application for legal aid.

  26. Remote Family Hearings: updated ways of working guidance added under "Other guidance".

  27. Recovery services contact details updated in 'Contact details desk aid: Civil'.

  28. An updated version of the Criminal Bills Assessment Manual published.

  29. Updated crime contact details desk aid.

  30. Updated version of the Criminal Bills Assessment Manual published.

  31. Updated contact desk aid for advocates.

  32. Publication of guidance update 'Civil Legal Advice (CLA) - September 2019 changes'

  33. Updated Civil Finance handbook uploaded.

  34. Updated Civil Contact Desk Aid.

  35. Update of Civil finance handbook.

  36. Paying for your civil legal aid leaflet updated

  37. Publication of the Position of the Legal Aid Agency as to undertaking work with the National Centre for Domestic Violence.

  38. Update to the The electronic handbook

  39. Update to guidance

  40. Update to costs assessment guidance

  41. Update to Cost Assessment Guidance

  42. LAA statutory charge position statement

  43. 'Criminal Bills Assessment Manual' updated with June 2018 Prison Law Amendments.

  44. Electronic handbook updated.

  45. Update to Criminal Bills Assessment Manual

  46. Evidence requirements for private family law matters guidance and Lord Chancellor's guidance (under section 4 of LASPO) updated.

  47. Contact details updated: 'Paying for your civil legal aid' and 'The statutory charge manual'.

  48. The Criminal Bills Assessment Manual updated to reflect the 2017 Standard Crime Contract changes and adds clarity to other areas, in particular the April 2017 changes to Police bail.

  49. Contact details desk aid: criminal updated.

  50. Advocates contact details desk aid added to page.

  51. Civil and criminal contact details desk aids published.

  52. Narrative and guidance: legal aid document updated.

  53. 'Lord Chancellor's guidance (under section 4 of LASPO)' updated.

  54. Updated evidence requirements for private family law matters guidance published.

  55. Criminal bills assessment manual updated.

  56. Costs assessment guidance 2013 updated.

  57. Evidence requirements for private family law document updated.

  58. Post-judgment notice to Director of Legal Aid Casework (LAC): IS v Director of LAC and Lord Chancellor: ECF Guidance (non-inquests) added

  59. Updated Lord Chancellor funding guidance (non-inquests) published 9 June 2015

  60. Costs assessment guidance for 2010, 2013 and 2014 Standard Civil Contracts updated.

  61. A guide to claiming electronic evidence as pages of prosecution evidence published.

  62. New Lord Chancellor's guidance

  63. Notice to Director of Legal Aid Casework added

  64. First published.