Law Society: Legal aid

The Legal aid area of the Law Society’s website provides news and advice for legal aid practitioners and information about its access to justice campaigns. A Legal Aid Update e-newsletter can be subscibed to via this section of the site.

Legal Aid Agency

The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) is an executive agency sponsored by the Ministry of Justice which provides both civil and criminal legal aid and advice in England and Wales. The agency replaced the Legal Services Commission on 1 April 2013. The Civil Legal Advice service, a national advice service paid for by legal aid, which offers free legal advice to those eligible for legal aid, and the Public Defender Service, which provides independent advice, assistance and representation on criminal matters, are part of this agency. The “main content page” link on the site leads to information and guidance for practitioners on making applications for civil and criminal legal aid, submitting a claim, high cost and complex cases, payments and processing, and contracts and tenders. Civil and criminal legal aid statutory materials, contracts, contractual arrangements and guidance are also available on the site.

Legal Services Agency Northern Ireland

The Legal Services Agency Northern Ireland (LSANI) was created on 1 April 2015 as an executive agency within the Department of Justice upon the dissolution of the Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission. It is responsible for administering publicly funded legal services. The site has information for members of the public and practitioners. Information for the legal profession includes legislation and guidance, legal aid forms and circulars. Information for the public includes a link to the Law Society of Northern Ireland’s Solicitors Directory.

Legal Services Research Centre

The Legal Services Research Centre (LSRC), which was the independent research division of the Legal Services Commission, closed on 1 April 2013. Its publications, which have now been archived, can still be viewed via this site.


LegalVoice is an online magazine providing news and information about legal aid and access to justice. Aimed at legal aid law firms, not-for-profit organisations and organisations providing publicly-funded legal advice, it has an archive of posts April 2012 onwards.

Lord Carter’s Review of Legal Aid Procurement

This independent review, led by Lord Carter of Coles, looked at new methods for procuring legal services with legal aid. Information and documentation on the site (which is now archived) includes the full texts both of Lord Carter’s interim report, Procurement of criminal defence services: market-based reform, published February 2006, and of his final report, Legal aid: a market-based approach to reform, published 13 July 2006.

Public Law Project

Public Law Project (PLP) is the site of an independent national legal charity, set up in 1990, which aims “to improve access to public law remedies for those whose access to justice is restricted  by poverty or some other form of disadvantage”. It undertakes research, policy initiatives, casework and training across the range of public law remedies. The site’s Resources section contains material aimed at public law practitioners and includes guides, conference papers, research reports, consultation responses and recorded presentations.

Scottish Legal Aid Board

This is the body responsible for managing legal aid in Scotland. Publications available online of particular interest to practitioners include the Scottish Legal Assistance Handbooks (current and previous editions going back to 2008) and other guidance, and annual reports 1987/1988 onwards. Annual reports will be found in About us>What we do. Legal Aid Online is a service allowing paper-free applications for legal aid.

Young Legal Aid Lawyers

Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) is a group of lawyers committed to practising in areas of law that have traditionally been publicly funded, with a membership including qualified junior lawyers, pupil barristers, trainee solicitors, students and paralegals. YLAL campaigns for a sustainable legal aid system, promotes diversity within the legal aid sector and the interests of new entrants to the profession, and provides a network for those beginning careers in the legal aid sector. The YLAL website includes information about the group, its subgroups and meetings, and also includes information about legal aid, responses to consultations, briefings, reports, and news.