The Legal aid and advice available to the public 

Financial help in legal matters 

When people are faced with a legal problem, the majority of people will usually need help from some sort of legal professional, most commonly a lawyer. It may be the case that the person will only need advice or information from the legal professional, but this may be extended to people who need help in starting the court proceedings and possibly even representation in court during the proceedings.  

Worried about  seeking legal advice 

Many people will need to seek legal advice, but will not due to three main problems: 

The lack of knowledge: people may not know who to contact, what solicitors firm to use, what area of law their case will fall under in order to search for the appropriate help. 

The fear of dealing with a profession legal representative 

The problem with affording the cost of a legal professional. Solicitors fees will vary from £80 – up to £300 per hour, depending on the solicitors used. 

Access to Justice 

If a person cannot get the help they need, they are said to have been denied access to justice. There are many services available for helping people establish their rights and allow them access to justice., for example the Citizens advice bureaux.  


When legal aid was established in 1949, about 80% of the population would have been eligible. Due to the fact that the financial limitation placed on legal aid assistance was not kept in line with inflation, the amount of people eligible for legal funding gradually reduced every year.  

In 1973, there were severe cuts to the system and only 40% qualified, with the majority of which had to contribute towards their financial help.  

Under the Access to Justice Act 1999, the old scheme of legal aid was replaced by two new schemes, The community Legal service for civil matters and the Criminal defence service for criminal cases. 

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For more information on:

  • The legal services commission 
  • The Community Legal service fund 
  • Court cases