How to get free legal advice

If you can’t afford legal advice or support in court, there are a number of resources and organisations who can offer advice and support.

You may get access to free or cheaper legal advice or support if you cannot afford it in court. If this is the case, you will be able to have:

  • legal aid for your problem;
  • free, reduced cost or fixed-fee advice either from legal professionals or advice charities;
  • free legal assistance from your trade union or other membership organisation;
  • legal advice with insurance policies; and
  • aid to pay court fees (know more about it on GOV.UK).

Find out about your right to free legal advice (regardless of your income) on GOV.UK if you have been arrested and are to be questioned at a police station.

Finding a pro bono solicitor

LawWorks is a charity that connects solicitors and people who cannot afford or have access to legal aid. To see one of their solicitors at their legal advice clinics, you will need to set up an appointment. Their free advice services include matters related to:

  • debt;
  • welfare rights;
  • housing matters;
  • employment law; and
  • consumer disputes.

Legal aid

Legal aid uses public money to commission and procures legal aid services from solicitors, barristers and the not-for-profit sector to provide people who cannot afford legal services to have access to legal advice and representation.

Its main goal is to provide fair and equal access to the courts regardless of status in life. It mainly helps people who would’ve been at risk of exclusion because of being poor or no proper representation.

Eligibility of cases for legal aid

Legal aid is generally for those people with grave cases and those who are low-income earners.

There are three main factors that the government is looking at for eligibility:

  • type of case;
  • income; and
  • likelihood of the case’s success (with costs involved).

Proceedings involving welfare benefits, divorce, employment, clinical negligence, child contact, and most facets of housing law are no longer receiving funding since 2013.

Asylum cases

The legal aid system is providing assistance to people seeking asylum which includes victims of trafficking and domestic violence.

Clinical negligence

Under limited instances such as a claimant’s child suffered a brain injury at the time of conception, during birth, or within the first eight weeks of life, clinical negligence cases can benefit from legal aid.

Community care

Disputes about the quality of care could also qualify for legal aid. Specifically, those cases involving abuse and neglect suffered in retirement, residential/nursing homes, or hospitals may be eligible.

People needing help in court suffering from physical illness, mental illness, or disability can also receive assistance.

Crime

Generally, people involved in criminal cases can also apply for legal aid.

Debt

Grave debt cases, specifically those that involve bankruptcy, repossession, or other threats to a home, are all eligible for claimants meeting the financial criteria.

Discrimination

Including those who need protection from harassment, unlawful discrimination cases can be assisted by legal aid.

Education

Parents and/or guardians of children with special educational needs can get assistance if they disagree with decisions made by the educators.

Family

Cases involving the abduction of children, domestic abuse, and forced marriages, family issues can still be eligible for legal aid.

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