Legal Aid Service

Our Legal Aid Casework Service

We hold legal Aid contracts in the following areas:

  • Community care
  • Housing
  • Public Law
  • Discrimination

We are, depending upon capacity, able to provide assistance by way of casework if the individual meets the legal aid eligibility criteria.

If you have a legal issue requiring legal representation and believe that you qualify for legal aid, please contact our Legal Aid Line (please see the steps below).

Our trained assessors will guide you through the next steps to determine if you are eligible for legal aid and whether your matter falls within the legal aid scope. The matter will then be referred to our legal aid team to determine whether we have capacity to take to take on the case.

Contacting our legal aid line is not a guarantee that we will be able (or have the capacity) to take on your case. Please note our legal aid line is not an advice service. If you require advice, please contact our housing and community care helpline. If you are not eligible for legal aid, please do not contact the service.


Opening Hours

Our Legal Aid Line is open on Wednesdays between 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM. All requests will be dealt with in the order they are received, whether by telephone or email, within the opening hours.

If our team fails to contact you on the day of your message, please contact us again during opening hours. Due to capacity reasons, DLS cannot read, listen or respond to messages left outside of opening hours.


Step 1: Scope for Legal Aid

The first step in determining if you qualify for legal aid is establishing if your matter falls within scope. This means that it must fall within an areas of law that legal aid covers. The following are areas within the legal aid scope that DLS covers.

Community Care:

  • Requesting, Reviewing & Challenging Care & Support Assessments and Plans for local authority care and support services (adult service users, children service users and carers).
  • Challenging Personal Budgets & requesting Direct Payments for care and support services.
  • Challenging Financial Assessments for care and support services.
  • ‘Safeguarding’ Investigations.
  • Challenging ‘Disabled Facilities Grant’ decisions.
  • Requesting aftercare services following sectioning under the Mental Health Act 1983.


  • Homelessness assistance for people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
  • “Possessions” and “Eviction” proceedings whether with Local Authorities, Housing Associations/Trusts or private landlords.
  • Unlawful eviction and landlord harassment.
  • Disrepair matters (we are able to assist if there is documentary evidence confirming the harm or risk of harm to a client’s health resulting from the disrepair).
  • Injunctions under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (in the context of housing).
  • Anti-social Behaviour (ASBOs).

Public Law: 

Challenging the decision(s) of a public body (or a private organisation exercising a public function) when they have failed to act fairly, lawfully, and/or rationally. If European law of Human Rights issues are involved then their decision may be unlawful if they are disproportionate.

Discrimination in relation to the provision of services and public functions:

  • Challenging a decision refusing to make reasonable adjustments for Disabled people.
  • Direct or indirect discrimination in the provision of a service, e.g. accessibility of a toilet.
  • Discriminatory harassment, e.g. conduct by a service provider related to a protected characteristic, which violates the individual’s dignity.
  • A service provider who treats a disabled person unfairly because of something arising in consequence of their disability.


Step 2: The Merits Test

The second step is to determine whether there are merits in the case that justify legal aid funding. A person satisfies the ‘Merits’ test if:

  • It is reasonable for the individual to be provided with legal help, having regard to any potential sources of funding for the individual;
  • There is likely to be sufficient benefit to the individual, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, including the circumstances of the individual, to justify the cost of provision of legal help; and
  • If there is a likelihood of success (50%) on the matter or the matter needs to be investigated to make this determination


Step 3: Financial Eligibility

The third step is whether you meet the financial eligibility criteria:

1. Do you and/or your partner have disposal capital above £8000? Capital includes savings, investments, valuable items and/or any other capital you may have.

Yes – You are not eligible for free legal help and advice unless you own your home with an equity of less than £100,000.

No – Continue

2. Are you in receipt of a passported benefit? Passported benefits include income support, income-based job seeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, and guaranteed credit or universal credit.

Yes – You are eligible for free legal help and advice.

No – Continue.

3. Do you and your partner have a monthly gross income below £2657?

Yes – Continue

No – You are not eligible for free legal help and advice.

4. Do you and your partner have a monthly disposal income exceeding £733? To work this out, follow the instruction in the box below.

Monthly Gross Income LESS the following:
Partner £224.87
Children aged 15 or under £361.70
Children aged 16 or over £361.70
Employment Expenses £45.00
Housing Costs (not inc. Housing Benefit) £545
Childcare costs £
Child maintenance payments £
Tax & National Insurance £


Yes – you are eligible for legal help.

No – you are not eligible for free help and advice under legal help.





NB: In applications for a substantive grant of Legal Aid funding (usually court work) a financial contribution may be payable. Click here further details.


Legal Aid Contact Details

Your message should identify, to the best of your knowledge, your eligibility for legal aid and provide a brief description of the issue at hand. Please firstly review the steps above to check whether you qualify for legal aid.


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