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Unless legal aid is available automatically, to get criminal legal aid you will usually have to show that you are eligible financially.

For advice and assistance or ABWOR, your solicitor will ask you for some information about any income and capital you have, and will usually be able to tell you straight away whether you qualify financially.

You will need to show some evidence of your income and capital - such as recent bank statements and details of any benefits you are receiving. 

You can also go to our financial eligibility estimator for advice and assistance to find out if you are likely to qualify. If your solicitor gives you advice and assistance, you may have to pay a contribution towards this - your solicitor will collect this from you.

If you have to apply for criminal legal aid, you will usually have to show that paying for your own legal help would cause you or someone else (such as your partner) undue hardship.This is not as simple as for advice and assistance, since we may have to consider what sort of case you are involved in. You will have to provide detailed information about your income, capital and outgoings in your application.

We have guidance for solicitors on how we apply the financial eligibility test in criminal legal aid and you can read that here.

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