New to legal aid

Legal aid is the help you can sometimes get when you can't afford to pay your own legal costs.

You can only apply for legal aid through a solicitor that does legal aid work. We do not provide legal advice.

A solicitor will:

  • talk you through your options
  • let you know if you’re likely to get legal aid
  • help you with the application process.

You’ll usually need to show that you can’t afford to pay for legal help yourself and your problem is serious.

You may have to pay some money towards the legal costs of your case, or pay costs back later.

You may not need to pay anything at all, depending on your financial position and the type of legal help you need.

Before you contact a solicitor to apply for legal aid

You should consider all your options for legal help – some could be cheaper or free.

Use the Scottish Government’s guide to legal advice and legal aid to find out about getting free help with legal problems, finding a solicitor and applying for legal aid.

Information leaflets and BSL videos

Download leaflets or watch BSL videos with information for people applying for legal aid, opponents, young people and children.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need to have a solicitor, or can I apply and then look for a solicitor once I have legal aid?
  • Do you need help with housing eviction, repossession, welfare benefits, debt or small claims?
  • Can I get civil legal aid if I’m a child?
  • I live abroad. Can I apply for Scottish legal aid?
  • How can legal aid help people with communication or other support needs?
  • Can my business apply for legal aid?