Legal Aid
(also called Public Funding)

For many types of cases you may be eligible for Legal Aid, depending on your financial means and the merits of your case. If Funding is granted you may have to pay a contribution which in most cases is paid by you for as long as the case lasts. This contribution is the only amount you have to pay unless the Statutory Charge applies.

access law do not undertake Legal Aid work for criminal cases


Legal Aid for private family cases has been drastically curtailed from April 2013.

For Family Law cases a new law brought into force on 1st April 2013 changes the position on Legal Aid so that it is no longer available to cover any application relating to divorce, children or finances unless certain limited circumstances apply.

Legal Aid will only be available if there has been Domestic Abuse in the previous two years. Domestic Abuse is defined as any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (whether psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between individuals who are associated with each other.

This will be proved in a number of ways including Medical Reports, Court Orders, criminal convictions or proof someone has been housed in a refuge. However the Legal Aid Agency (formerly the Legal Services Commission) will not pay to obtain the proof. See here for more information on Domestic Abuse.

If a person with a current Legal Aid Certificate ceases to qualify due to an increase in their income, they will not be able to obtain Legal Aid again in the future even if their income later reduces.  See the Legal Aid eligibility calculator.

Legal Aid is still available for all cases where Domestic Abuse is established and there is also Legal Help to assist with Mediation if both parties are prepared to engage in the process and to assist in preparing a Consent Order if the matter is agreed and there are current divorce proceedings.

Legal Aid is also available for all Child Abduction and Public Law Child Care cases.

For all cases that do not qualify for Legal Aid, work will be carried out at private rates. Please contact us for a quote or prices leaflet.

This page gives more information on family law, mediation and domestic abuse.

The Statutory Charge

If you are successful in your case and it is considered that you have recovered or preserved property or money (either as a result of settling the case or as a result of agreement after proceedings have been issued), it may be required that some or all of your legal costs be paid from the money or property recovered by you. How much is deducted will depend on what the other party pays towards your costs, if anything. The amount recovered by way of costs from the other party rarely covers the entire costs involved in preparing and conducting a case and the LSC is entitled to deduct the difference from your award or settlement. This deduction is called the Statutory Charge and can take various forms, including a possible charge over your assets.

Are you eligible for Funding?

You are likely to be eligible if you can answer YES to the questions below (or visit the Direct Community Legal Advice eligibility calculator page here.

[The eligibility for Funding varies with the type of Public Funding you are claiming and/or the type of case. Eligibility rates given below are as of 8th April 2013]

Legal Help

[most cases for initial advice]

Civil CLS Funding

[court proceedings for Family cases and civil claims such as Consumer Contract]

Applying for Public Funding

Various forms have to be completed in order to apply. We will supply and complete these on your behalf. To assist us we will require a number of personal details from you including:-

The Specialist Quality Mark

access law hold a Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) which means that the standard of care and conduct of Legal Aid cases that we deal with is approved by the Legal Aid Agency.

Our SQM permits us to provide specialist advice in Family and Mental Health matters together with general advice for other permitted case types such as Debt, Housing and Welfare Benefits.

In order to ensure that law firms providing Legal Aid deliver a consistently high standard of service they are subjected to regular audits by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA).

On 15th July 2014 we passed this LAA audit to confirm that we continue to provide the highest standards of Legal Aid to our clients. 

The standards of conduct and care required by the Legal Aid Agency mean more than just a logo on a door or letterhead; they indicate a reliable level of service for ALL clients. Private paying clients benefit because the systems and procedures introduced work equally well for (and are applied to) non-Legal Aid cases.

Legal Aid Contracts

From October 2010 the Legal Services Commission are awarding contracts authorising firms to offer Legal Aid services under various categories of work.  These contracts require that firms have qualified specialists in the appropriate categories of work and also stipulate that firms meet defined standards of quality service.

access law have been awarded contracts under this procedure to carry out Legal Aid work in:-
The awarding of contracts for family cases is based on a points system depending on the number of specialists, number of cases undertaken in the past and quality of service.  access law obtained maximum points under this system and were ranked Number 1 in the Southampton Procurement Area.

This page last updated 27 - Jan - 2015

Author: G. L. Hewstone