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Who should not use the calculator?

You should not try to use this calculator if you or your partner has complex financial circumstances – that is, if you are:

  • self-employed
  • a shareholder in a private limited company
  • a company director
  • a partner in a business partnership.

If you are in one of these groups, you should speak to an adviser, who can tell you whether you qualify for legal aid. To find a legal adviser, click here. You also should not use the calculator if you are:

  • seeking advice and assistance with a criminal case
  • a legal adviser advising a client.

What documents will I need when using it?

You will be asked questions on your income and savings (“capital”), so you will need:

  • wage slips from the last three months
  • records of child-minding fees
  • your benefits book
  • your rent book or mortgage invoices
  • life assurance or endowment policies
  • stocks, bonds and shares details
  • details of trust deeds or trust funds
  • the balance of your bank or building society accounts
  • details of fixed-term investments etc
  • details of maintenance payments.

If you have a partner, you will need to provide their financial details as well.

Why can't it guarantee that I will get legal aid?

The calculator can only work out whether you are eligible according to your means. However, when you apply you will also have to satisfy a test that looks at the merits of your case.

The calculator will also say whether you would have to contribute to your legal costs. If as a result of your publicly funded legal action you receive money or property, this will be used first to repay your legal costs to the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (this is called the “statutory charge”) and you will receive anything left over. You can find out more in the leaflet 'Paying back the Gurkha Free Legal Advice - the statutory charge'.

How do I apply for legal aid?

If you are not eligible for legal aid, but would like to apply for Pro Bono (free) help from the legal profession, you may want to print out the results of the calculator, and your answers, to accompany your application to them.

Further information about applying for legal aid
Find a legal adviser in the Directory
Applying for Pro Bono help

Technical problems

I get a session timeout
You may need to change your computer’s settings (view guidance). To read the guidance, you will need the free software Acrobat® Reader.

Download Acrobat® Reader

I keep losing numbers
You must use the calculator's 'next' and 'back' buttons to move through the calculator, rather than your browser’s Forward and Back buttons.

I want to come back to the calculator later
You cannot save your progress on the calculator if you decide to stop halfway through. If you need to stop before completing the calculator, you may want to print your answers so far using the 'Print' option on the menu.

I don’t understand a question
Use the 'help' function on the right-hand side of the calculator if you have any trouble answering a particular question.

It looked as if I was halfway through, then suddenly I was at the end
The progress bar shows how far through the calculator you are, but your answer to some questions may mean the calculator can give you a result straight away, even though the progress bar looks as if you are only halfway through. This is normal and nothing to worry about.

Further assistance

If these tips do not help, or you would like to give us feedback, please visit our feedback section. Note that we cannot answer any queries about whether you are eligible. For these queries, you should visit a legal adviser.

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