If you want to get legal aid in England or Wales:
- contact Civil Legal Advice for debt, housing, education, family and discrimination cases
- contact a local legal adviser or family mediator who has a contract for any type of legal aid case
Your legal adviser or family mediator will apply for legal aid on your behalf. If you qualify, the government will pay their costs directly.
Check if you qualify for legal aid before you approach an adviser.
Getting legal aid in an emergency
You can get emergency help if you need urgent representation in court, eg to keep you and your children safe from domestic abuse.
Your legal adviser will apply for Emergency Legal Representation to cover any immediate action. You’ll still need to apply for legal aid in the normal way for any ongoing work.
A police custody officer will help you get legal aid if you’ve been arrested and held at a police station. You’ll be offered free advice:
- by telephone (if the offence is less serious)
- from the police station’s duty solicitor
- from your own legal adviser
If you’re charged or go to court
A solicitor will check if you qualify for legal aid if you’re charged with a crime or have to go to court. You can then:
- get advice from the same organisation that helped you at the police station
- ask to speak to the court duty solicitor
- find your own criminal legal aid solicitor
What you need to bring to your legal adviser
You’ll need to give information about the following for both yourself and your partner:
- benefits - including benefits statements
- income, savings and spending - including pay slips and bank statements
- National Insurance numbers
You’ll also need copies of evidence relating to your case, eg:
- court documents
- marriage and birth certificates (for family cases)
- relevant letters
Tell your legal adviser if any of your financial circumstances change.