Getting legal help: Legal aid and other help schemes


Different schemes provide free or partly free advice and representation from a lawyer if you can’t afford to hire one yourself:

  • Under arrest: The PDLA scheme – Lawyers who are rostered under the Police Detention Legal Assistance (PDLA) scheme are available to give you free legal advice if you’ve been arrested by the police or held by the police.
  • First day in court: Duty lawyers – The duty lawyer is available at the courts to give you free legal advice on the first day of your case.
  • Ongoing cases: Legal aid – The legal aid scheme pays some or all of the cost of hiring a lawyer for the whole of a criminal case, if you can’t afford to pay for a lawyer yourself. You may have to pay back some or all of your legal aid.

This section also gives some advice on ways to find a suitable lawyer.

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