Research finds no evidence access to legal aid was significantly worse in early 2022 compared to pre-pandemic

We carried out a small scale review of the availability and accessibility of legal aid solicitors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the whole period is covered, the focus of the report – Accessibility and availability of legal aid during the pandemic: evidence review – is on the position in spring 2022 when most restrictions were lifted.

Taken together, the evidence available does not suggest that access to legal aid overall was significantly worse in spring 2022, compared to pre-pandemic.

Although the numbers of applications and active practitioners were lower than in 2019-20, both this, and the partial recovery in the second year of the pandemic, appears largely to reflect very significant changes in patterns of need for legally aided services, flowing from the wider impact of, and responses to, the pandemic.

Meanwhile, our surveys of recipients of civil and criminal legal aid do not suggest a concerning impact on finding, or using, a solicitor.

There was also some evidence that accessibility may have improved for some people, due to firms’ continued use of new contact methods introduced during the pandemic.

Further information

If you would like further information about this research please contact our Research Team at

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