Information for the public
Legal aid allows people to get help for their legal problems. We can provide funding for people to get legal advice and representation - where a solicitor can act for them in court.
This part of our website contains information for people who may need legal aid, and others who may be affected by legal aid, such as opponents in civil cases.
The links to the left give more information about the different types of legal assistance: civil, criminal or children's. You can also look at our leaflets.
Or you can click on the questions below to get you started:
Criminal legal assistance helps people who need legal advice or representation if they have been questioned by the police or charged with a criminal offence.
Find out more about criminal legal assistance.
Civil legal assistance helps people to get legal advice and the help of a solicitor to resolve their problem and, if necessary, to put their civil case in court. It may be free or you may have to pay something towards it.
Examples of civil cases:
- divorce and other matters affecting families and children
- trying to get compensation for injuries after an accident or for medical negligence
- housing matters such as rent or mortgage arrears, repairs and eviction
- debt and welfare rights
- matters relating to immigration, nationality and asylum.
Find out more about civil legal assistance.
Yes. To find out more about legal aid and if you qualify you can call our legal aid information line on: 0845 122 8686.
Please note that we do not provide legal advice. Calls are charged at local rate. For training and monitoring purposes calls to SLAB may be recorded.
You can use an online calculator to work out if you are likely to qualify financially for advice and assistance in civil, criminal or children's cases or for civil legal aid in civil cases.
A children can apply for legal aid if you are old enough to understand why you need a solicitor to help you, and to ask a solicitor to work for you. But you will have to go and see a solicitor first. (You can only get legal aid through a solicitor.) Find out more
You can use our Solicitor Finder to get information on your nearest solicitor who offers help through legal aid, or other legal advice providers funded by SLAB.
The Scottish Legal Aid Board funds projects around Scotland to help people who are facing legal problems. The current projects can help with one or more of the following types of problem:
- assistance and representation focused on the resolution of a mortgage repossession or tenancy repossession action;
- assistance for serious debt problems;
- assistance and representation focused on resolving welfare benefits problems;
- information, one-off advice and signposting about civil court processes;
- assistance and casework assistance with small claims cases to help you to solve problems before they get to court or early in the court process.
Important things to bear in mind when applying for legal aid
It is important that only those who are financially eligible receive legal aid. So it is essential that the information you provide about your circumstances is complete and accurate. You must also tell us about any changes in your circumstances, where appropriate.
If we find that you have made a false statement or have held back information about either your case or your circumstances, we may stop any legal aid given to you and you may have to repay the full costs of the case. You could also face criminal charges.
We have a duty to make sure public money is properly spent and we check with the Department for Work and Pensions, councils, employers and any other relevant third party, that the information applicants give us is accurate.
National Fraud Initiative
We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud. Read More