Legal aid providers: test scope, merits and means; access legislation and regulations; use the civil legal aid calculator and manual.
Applies to England and Wales
The rules about who qualifies for legal aid are set out in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) and regulations.
is also available to help determine who qualifies for legal aid.
You’ll need to consider:
- scope - whether the case is one for which legal aid is available
- merits - the likelihood of your client being successful
- means - your client’s financial eligibility
Civil Legal Advice
You should direct clients with debt, discrimination or education problems - who need initial advice and assistance (known as legal help) - to the Civil Legal Advice (CLA) service unless they’re exempt as set out in part 2 of the Civil Legal Aid Procedure Regulations 2012. Find more information in CLA provider guidance. Leaflets for members of the public and guidance for advice practitioners are available to download below.
You can only provide civil legal aid to cover specific types of civil dispute as set out in Schedule 1, LASPO. For further guidance on the legal aid reform changes read .
Legal aid may be available in other exceptional circumstances: you can make an application to the exceptional case funding team. Read more guidance on exceptional case funding. Your client must still meet the merits and means criteria.
For further guidance please read.
You must consider the merits of the case including the likelihood of success and benefit to the client before you make an application on behalf of your client. Merits are covered in full in Civil Legal Aid (Merits Criteria) Regulations 2013 and subsequent amendments.
Information is also available in Lord Chancellor’s guidance (see above).
In most cases you’ll also need to complete a financial eligibility check on your client to see if they qualify for legal aid as set out in Civil Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment for Services) Regulations 2013 and subsequent amendments.
Read more guidance on civil legal aid means testing and financial eligibility.
Check if your client qualifies for legal aid
Check if your client qualifies for civil legal aid. This service assesses whether your client’s case is likely to meet the financial criteria for legal aid. It cannot tell you if the merits or the type of case puts it in scope for civil legal aid.
Make an application
Apply for civil legal aid - including guidance on applications, how to deal with specialist cases and access to Legal Aid Agency (LAA) forms.
Further civil legal aid regulations and orders
|Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012 and subsequent amendments||Explains procedures for applying for different forms of civil legal aid. Includes acceptable forms of evidence when applying for civil legal services in a private family law matter where there’s risk or evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.|
|Civil Legal Aid (Family Relationship) Regulations 2012||Defines orders made under section 14, Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 as ‘matters arising out of a family relationship’.|
|Civil Legal Aid (Pollution of the Environment) Regulations 2012||Defines the types of environmental pollution which justify the client seeking an injunction.|
|Civil Legal Aid (Immigration Interviews)(Exceptions) Regulations 2012 and subsequent amendment||Sets out where legal aid may be available for clients attending an asylum application interview.|
|Civil Legal Aid (Preliminary Proceedings) Regulations 2013||Prescribes that a first-tier tribunal application on a welfare benefits matter is not to be regarded as preliminary to the appeal in the upper tribunal.|
|Civil Legal Aid (Connected Matters) Regulations 2013||Sets out how to apply the connected matters rule.|
|Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) Regulations 2013 and subsequent amendments||Sets out fees payable for civil legal services.|
|Civil Legal Aid (Costs) Regulations 2013||Makes provision for cost protection and costs orders.|
|The Civil Legal Aid (Statutory Charge) Regulations 2013 and subsequent amendments||Sets out how civil legal services charges against property are set, modified and collected.|
|The Legal Aid (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2013||Allows legal aid providers to disclose information to the LAA.|
Tables of delegated authorities
These tables set out the areas where the Lord Chancellor and/or Director of Legal Aid Casework have delegated their functions under the civil legal aid legislation to others e.g. the Legal Aid Agency.
The tables were updated on 1 September 2018 to account for the implementation of the 2018 Standard Civil Contract.
Restrictions on a provider’s power to determine applications for emergency representation in judicial review cases have been transferred from the contract specification to the relevant parts of these authorisations.
Clarification on immigration funding in trafficking cases
Criminal legal aid
Civil legal aid covers disputes with another person, company or organisation. Legal aid may also available for the representation of criminal matters.