Are the best things in life free? Or do you only get what you pay for?
Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, if you need help from a lawyer it makes sense to be in the know about exactly what needs to be paid for.
Some law firms offer appointments where you can meet them and discuss your legal issue for a short period of time without any charge. These sessions can help you get a feel for your options, while also helping the lawyer to work out if they are able to take on your case. When you first start looking for a lawyer you can ask firms if they offer free appointments.
Some lawyers provide legal advice services for free, or at a reduced rate. They usually do this alongside other legal work that they charge for.
This is sometimes called 'pro bono' work and law firms provide this type of work in local communities to help people who need legal assistance but can't afford the legal costs. (Pro bono is a Latin term meaning: done without a fee)
There are organisations that can tell you more about your options for free legal advice. Some that you might want to try are:
If you have had free legal advice or representation and you win your case, sometimes the court might make something called a pro bono costs order.
This means that the losing side has to pay a sum of money representing the amount you would have paid for your lawyer if they hadn't acted for free.
The money is paid to a charity called the Access to Justice Foundation which distributes it to organisations providing free legal advice to people who need it the most.
No win no fee
Some lawyers are prepared to offer legal services to you on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. To find out more, see our information on no win no fee legal services.
Legal advice for people in police custody
Anyone who is arrested in England and Wales has the right to free legal advice from a lawyer if they want it. See our I have been arrested page for more.