- the type of problem you have
- your financial circumstances
- how much help you need
Legal aid doesn't always cover the cost of your case, and sometimes you may have to pay back the money you received if you win your case.
Here are a few main areas where you can get legal aid for:
- Welfare benefits, e.g. jobseekers allowance
- Debt - legal advice if you're declared bankrupt
- employment - for claims of unfair dismissal or discrimination
- Family, for separation or divorce
- Housing - if you're being threatened with eviction or homelessness
- Mental health - if you're being detained in a hospital.
There are many more areas where legal aid is applicable, to see more visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/governmentcitizensandrights/gettinglegaladvice/DG_195314
You can't get legal aid for personal injury claims, or legal representation at an employment tribunal, or conveyancing.
There are different types of legal aid including criminal claims, family assistance, legal representation etc. Getting legal aid if being accused of a crime is different than getting legal aid for a civil case.
The Citizens Advice Bureau is one place where you can get a lot of information and advice regarding a large variety of problems, whether financial or personal. They often have recommendations of who to see if you require a representative or a meeting with a particular person, or they can usually give you a list of solicitors who would be useful to ask advice.
Hope this covers the basics of legal aid, and hope it was more understandable than all of the in-depth legal stuff I post :)