Assess your client's eligibility

The process for assessing if an individual qualifies for civil legal aid and criminal legal aid is different.

In civil legal aid, a person’s income and capital must be within specified limits (means test) and their case needs to have a reasonable chance of winning (merits test).  

In criminal legal aid, financial means are also considered but in a different way.  In addition, the more serious the charge – and possible consequences – the more likely it is that the person will qualify (interests of justice test).

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is now a ‘passporting’ benefit.  Information about this is in the ‘Universal Credit and Legal Aid Means Testing’ document below.

Universal Credit and Legal Aid Means Testing (PDF)

Legal Services Commission


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