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What is covered by legal aid

In England and Wales legal aid is available for the following types of cases: 

  • Asylum claims and some immigration cases
  • Social services cases where children are involved
  • Help or services from the local authority and/or the NHS because of illness, disability or mental capacity
  • Representation at a mental health tribunal for people detained in hospital
  • Benefit appeals to the Upper Tribunal, High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court
  • Homelessness including asylum accommodation
  • Judicial review challenges against decisions by public bodies, including local authorities

Legal aid is subject to a means assessment, so a person's income and savings or other capital will be taken into account to establish if they are eligible for this.

Some cases are also subject to a merits assessment, for example, an appeal against a refusal of asylum. When the merits test applies, the legal representative will need to assess the likelihood of the case succeeding and can only continue to provide representation if the case has 50% or more chance of success.

See the Law Society information about help with paying for legal costs.