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How to apply for legal aid in criminal cases

How to apply

If you think you may qualify for legal aid, you’ll need to:

  • fill in the forms or apply online
  • get the right evidence
  • complete the checklist where applicable
  • send an electronic application or paper forms (where applicable) to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA)

Categories of law

The 2 main categories of law paid for by the LAA are civil (including controlled work) and criminal.

There are also a number of cases outside of mainstream funding:

Make a crime application

To apply for criminal legal aid for legal representation in the courts, you must complete a CRM14 eForm. Depending on the type of case and where it’s being heard, you may have to provide information in relation to:

  • income
  • outgoings
  • capital and equity

The eForm will tell you what evidence is required based on answers to the questions.

Depending on the type of case and where it’s being heard you may need to pass a means test (financial) and a merits test, Interests of Justice (IoJ), to be eligible. If eligible, the means test will also determine how much you may have to contribute towards your legal aid in the Crown court.

Find out how to work out who qualifies

Length of application process

The Legal Aid Agencies targets are as follows:

  • 95% of criminal legal aid applications to be processed in 2 working days (100% in 6 working days)
  • 100% of administrative appeals to be processed in 2 working days

Go to this page for more information about crime processing dates

Contact details

The Crime Applications Teams (CAT) process the majority of applications, whilst the National Crime Team (NCT) process:

  • Applications where the applicant’s finances are more complicated – which the Legal Aid Agency refer to as ‘complex means’
  • Applications for a review on the grounds of hardship
  • Applications for an eligibility review (where an applicant has been refused legal aid for their Crown court trial)
  • Non-means-tested applications

A single telephone number should be used for enquiries about criminal legal aid applications including complex means, hardship, contributions and eForm portal support:

Criminal applications helpline: 0300 200 2020
9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays

Emails and correspondence for the attention of the CAT should be sent to the relevant team:

CAT Birmingham

Legal Aid Agency – CAT
1st Floor, Cannon House
18 The Priory
Queensway
Birmingham
B4 6BS

DX: 13041 Birmingham 1

Email: [email protected]

CAT Nottingham

Legal Aid Agency – CAT
Fothergill House
16 King Street
Nottingham
NG1 2AS

DX: 10035 Nottingham 1

Email: [email protected]

CAT Liverpool

Legal Aid Agency – CAT
Level 6, The Capital
Union Street
Liverpool
L3 9AF

DX: 745810 Liverpool 35

Email: [email protected]

Emails for the attention of NCT should be sent to [email protected]

Correspondence for the attention of NCT should be sent to the relevant team:

NCT Nottingham

Legal Aid Agency – NCT
Fothergill House
16 King Street
Nottingham
NG1 2AS

DX: 10035 Nottingham 1

NCT Liverpool

Legal Aid Agency – NCT
Level 6, The Capital
Union Street
Liverpool
L3 9AF

DX: 745810 Liverpool 35

Appealing a decision

If your application is refused on merits (Interests of Justice) an appeal pro forma may be completed and sent to:

[email protected]

If you believe an error has been made with the means assessment you can ask for a review, as set out in the criminal legal aid manual.

If you believe paying privately will cause you financial hardship you can apply using the CRM16 form for the Legal Aid Agency to consider additional expenditure and the likely costs of the case. Find out more about means-testing.

If you wish to appeal the assessment of a bill, go to appealing assessments on controlled and licensed work.

Complaints

If you wish to make a complaint about any application for legal aid, please go to the Legal Aid Agencies complaints procedure.

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