Using CLAO

Please simply telephone or email the office which serves the area where you live, or – if you are not sure which office to use - any CLAO office.  You will need to be able to tell us what the case is about and what your financial resources are so that we can check the legal aid position. We can only help you find a solicitor if you are eligible for legal aid and assessing your eligibility does require assessment of your financial position.

When you contact us, we will take basic details, make a rough assessment of your eligibility for legal aid, and if you appear to be eligible, we will use our referral system to try to find a suitable local solicitor to take your case, from the records we keep of service providers and the work they do.

Please note that we do require to record your details but we ask your permission to do so. We cannot deal with enquiries on an anonymous basis or where you do not give permission for us to hold your details. All details are held by us in accordance with the Data Protection Act principles.

If you are successfully referred to a local solicitor or other agency, then the involvement of CLAO ends at that point, and you simply deal with the solicitor directly.

Where we cannot find a local solicitor or other agency to assist you, if the work is one of the types of legal work undertaken by the CLAO office in question, and if we have the capacity in the service to take the case on, we will normally do so, although there may be other reasons why we cannot . When we take the case on we then undertake some preliminary steps which are customary when instructing a solicitor.

Service information and documentation