What is Legal Aid and how does it work?

Legal Aid is funding provided by the Legal Aid Agency to help meet the cost of legal advice or representation in court or in a tribunal. 

JCWI's legal department has a Legal Aid contract. This means that we are able to represent and assist clients using Legal Aid but only if you are eligible.

Your eligibility is based both on your 'means' (whether you can afford to pay for legal advice) and the 'merits' of your case (how serious your case is and whether it is in 'scope').

What does 'scope' mean?

When we say that a type of case is 'in scope' it means that, provided you are financially eligible, this type of case is automatically covered by Legal Aid according to the rules set by the Legal Aid Agency.

Unfortunately, since 2010 there have been deep cuts to Legal Aid and, as a result, there's been a big reduction in the types of immigration cases that are 'in scope'. For example, since 1 April 2013 cases involving Article 8 ECHR (Family) are no longer automatically eligible for legal aid. You can read more about this here.

However, despite these cuts, legal aid has not disappeared altogether. And even when it is not automatically available, in some cases it's possible to apply for 'Exceptional Case Funding'. JCWI has extensive experience making these applications and we'd be happy to advise you on this if it is relevant.

What should I do next?

If you would like to find out if you are eligible for Legal Aid, please email us to provide us with further information about your case. Our legal team will be happy to advise you on whether it will be possible for you to access Legal Aid and whether any further documentation will need to be provided.

What if I want private advice from JCWI, i.e. without Legal Aid?

In some cases we find that clients who are not eligible for Legal Aid would still like to obtain advice and representation from JCWI. In such cases, if a client is comfortable covering some or all of the cost of these services, our legal team are happy to discuss the complexity of the case and we can provide you with a quote for the provision of private legal services. Please note that such services are subject to availability as we prioritise the most urgent enquiries. If you would like more information on our fee structure, please click here.

Struggling with application fees?

If you're already in the UK and can't afford the fees to make an application based on your human rights, you might be able to apply for something called a fee waiver. If this is granted, you won't have to pay the Home Office application fee. We've put together a guide with the key information about applying for a fee waiver.