Usual Eligibility

Usually you must satisfy two requirements before you can be granted a Civil Public Funding Certificate (a Full Certificate):

1. Your case must merit Legal Aid.
2. You must be financially eligible.

Emergency Certificate

However, the Legal Services Commission will grant a certificate on an emergency basis (an emergency certificate) where circumstances justify, e.g. to apply for an injunction following violence. In other words, the merit requirement (see above) has been satisfied, but not the financial eligibility requirement.

Financial Assessment

Nevertheless, financial eligibility must still be assessed and a full certificate granted before the position is properly finalised. Even though you have been granted an emergency certificate, you must supply all required financial information to enable financial eligibility to be assessed. Failure to do so can have expensive consequences (see the next section).

Failure to Co-Operate

If you fail to respond to requests for financial details either from ourselves or the Legal Services Commission, this will lead to revocation of the emergency certificate. Where the emergency certificate is revoked, we can still claim the costs which we have incurred from the Public Fund. However, the Fund will then look to you to pay back the costs personally. In other words, revocation of the emergency certificate will make you personally liable for the costs. This is a result to be avoided by all necessary effort on your part!


The financial assessment may result in you being found ineligible for Public Funding. If this happens, the consequences are much the same as described above in relation to revocation of the emergency certificate. We will claim our costs from the Public Fund but you will then have to repay all the costs to the Fund.

Full Certificate

A separate information sheet explains various matters relating to a full certificate. When you have been granted a full certificate, you should refer to this separate sheet for further information.

Back to Fact Sheet menu