We no longer provide Legal Aid services. Please click here to find a legal aid lawyer or submit your enquiry below for private fee paying legal services.
Our aim is to provide all our clients with the most comprehensive, high quality tailor made Legal Advice. Please contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers on ✆ 0330 058 3929 or make an enquiry online to find out more about the services we offer.
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Legal aid is generally available for very limited immigration and asylum cases. The following matters may qualify for some advice, assistance and/or representation:
- Detention & Bail cases;
- Applications for Leave to Remain under the domestic violence rule;
- Applications for leave by those identified as victims of trafficking;
- Proceedings before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. This includes deportation and deprivation of citizenship cases where information is to be kept confidential for reasons of national security;
- Many asylum cases & appeals;
- Applications for Leave to Remain or settlement as a refugee with humanitarian protection/discretionary leave under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, ie: freedom from torture or inhuman and degrading treatment;
- Some Judicial Review Applications, in limited circumstances.
Legal aid cases are always ‘means tested’. This means that the Legal Aid Agency will only grant legal aid to people who have a low (or no) income and savings. You can check if you qualify financially online: https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid.
Legal aid cases are also ‘merits tested’. This means that legal aid will only be granted if paying for legal advice is a good use of public money. The criteria for assessing merits depend on the type of case. The legal aid lawyer will assess the merits of your case before they agree to take it on. Normally funding will only be granted if your case is likely to succeed, but sometimes you can receive basic legal advice even if you do not meet this condition.
If your type of case is not eligible for legal aid, you can apply for ‘Exceptional Case Funding’ (ECF). ECF will only be granted to cases which are particularly complicated, or to people who would have serious problems applying without help from a lawyer. The funding is there in order to avoid a breach of peoples’ human rights or EU rights. Your case also need to meet the means and merits tests.
If there is some reason why you can’t represent yourself (such as a disability or vulnerability), then you should speak to a solicitor or an accredited immigration adviser about ECF. ECF may also be suitable if you are a child or young person. It is possible to apply for ECF by yourself.
Unfortunately, most mainstream non-asylum immigration cases are no longer eligible for Legal Aid. This includes Entry Clearance Visas eg, for a spouse/partner or family member. It also includes applications made under Article 8 of the ECHR (right to a family or private life).
A few solicitors firms, charities and community organisations offer limited ‘pro bono’ (free) legal representation in immigration cases. The local authority may have a duty to pay for legal services for you if they are helping you. For example, if you are a child or young person in the care of the local authority, a care leaver.
Alternatively, if you have enough money you could pay a solicitor or immigration advisor to represent you. It is important to choose an advisor that is a regulated professional. These websites might help you to find an advisor:
The fees for legal services vary a lot and it is up-to you to do the research to find a reputed & suitable lawyer that fits your budget. You must always ask for an estimate and obtain receipts for all your payment should you instruct them.
We would always recommend that you seek expert legal advice in relation to your immigration case. However, if none of the options set out above is available to you, you can also represent yourself.
City Legal can assist you in establishing whether you qualify for legal aid and direct you towards legal aid lawyers. Even if you are not eligible for Legal Aid, our specialist immigration lawyers can advise, assist and represent you at very competitive rates.