The essential components of a civil legal aid application: forms, statutory statements, declaration

An application for civil legal aid should include:

  • completed application forms
  • a statutory statement as to the nature of the case and your client’s interest in it
  • any statements and other documents we may need to assess the application.
  • Legal Aid Declaration (CIV/SOL) to record key information and capture the signatures of you and your client. All declarations must be signed and dated by you and your client, and completed in full.

Where your client is not present:

When you see clients face to face they must sign the declaration.

If the client is present and cannot sign, or if the client is not present, you should indicate that you are signing on behalf of your client and give the date of your remote consultation with the client.

In these circumstances you must explain the terms of the declaration to the client and obtain their verbal consent to its terms.

Information you should make your clients aware of before applying

Before applying for legal aid, it is essential your client understands the implications and responsibilities of this.

You should also ensure that they are aware that legal aid is not always free.  Depending on their finances and on the nature of the case, they could have to pay:

  • a contribution from their income and/or capital towards the cost of the case
  • if they get or keep property or money, some or all of their own costs from that property
  • if they lose the case, some or all of their opponent’s costs.

Information you must provide with a civil legal aid application

Choosing the correct application form

All applications must be made using Legal Aid Online and include the appropriate financial forms.

Providing an effective statutory statement

The purpose of the statutory statement is to:

  • focus our attention clearly on what exactly legal aid is sought for
  • give notice to the opponent of what legal aid is sought for.

Provided these objectives are met, there is no need for a lengthy detailed statement.

If you refer to sections or sub-sections of particular Acts, please give the reference in full.

You should describe in lay terms what your client is seeking by the action, as we may send the statement to someone who is not legally qualified.

If you do not wish us to pass on the address of your client to others in the case, do not include this in the statement as we send this direct to the opponent or the opponent’s representatives.

You do not have to set down every aspect of the case in the style of an initial writ.

If we receive a statutory statement which we do not think gives adequate notice to any opposing party, then we will ask you to provide a fresh one.


See our guidance on solicitor and applicant signatures.

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