4. How to claim

If you want to get legal aid in England or Wales:

You can also search for a legal aid solicitor in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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.

Criminal cases

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:

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.