How to get free legal advice about your civil case

This page explains how you may be able to get free legal advice about your civil case. This includes cases about a breach of contract, housing, debt, bankruptcy, community care, personal injury, and money owed. It is not always easy, so start trying to get advice as soon as you can.

The Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau can provide free ongoing legal advice if you are involved in any civil case in the County Court, High Court, or Court of Appeal across England and Wales. They can also provide help if you have permission to appeal to the High Court.  

Bankruptcy issues?

The Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau  also offer a service to advise on bankruptcy issues. During the coronavirus crisis they are offering advice by telephone. Please  look at their website for the latest details of how to access their services.

 During the coronavirus crisis they are asking anyone who wants to access their service to download the civil triage form from their homepage, complete it, and email it to If you are not able to do that, phone the helpline and they will help you to complete the form. The helpline is  0203 475 4373 and is open Monday to Friday 9:30-1pm and 2-4:30pm.

They will assess your advice needs and either make an appointment for you for the following week or give you details of who else can help you. 

So many people need to use this service that they are only able to offer a maximum of three appointments to each person.

During the coronavirus crisis all appointments are happening over telephone, email or videochat.  

Housing issue?

Shelter (England) gives advice over the phone about housing issues Call: 0808 800 4444. Open Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm, Saturday/Sunday 8am-5pm, 365 days a year. They also have 17 advice centres where you can usually get  face to face advice but during the coronavirus crisis they may offer telephone advice. For details call the Shelter Support Helpdesk on 0300 330 1234 or see Shelter advice centres

Shelter Cymru advise on housing issues in Wales. Call 0345 075 5005. Open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm. They also run advice surgeries across Wales. See Shelter Cymru - advice near you.

The RCJ Advice Bureau
Royal Courts of Justice

Law Centres offer free face-to-face legal advice to local residents, and some run a telephone advice line. Find out if there is a law centre near you.

LawWorks supports a network of over 280 free legal advice clinics that provide initial advice to individuals on various areas of law, including social welfare issues, employment, housing, and consumer disputes. During the coronavirus crisis, all clinics have closed face-to-face appointments. Use their search to see if there is a clinic near you offering advice on the area of law you need help with by phone, email or digitally. In order to use the time efficiently, please see What to bring to your appointment at a LawWorks clinic (PDF).

Citizens Advice can offer practical advice on lots of issues. During the coronavirus crisis local services are not offering face-to-face appointments but many are offering help over phone or email. Their contact us allows you to search for your local Citizens Advice service, and provides details about their national helpline, and their chat and other services. Be aware that the national helpline is not free. Calls are charged at the same rate as calls to landlines. 


Community care issues?

National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) offers advice, advocacy and legal representation for children, young people and vulnerable adults in community care. Call 0808 808 1001  Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm, Saturday 10am - 4pm. Or email your questions to

The Disability Law Service provides free legal advice about community care over the telephone to people with disabilities and their carers. Call 020 7791 9800,  Monday-Friday 10am-2pm and 3pm-5pm.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) provide advice on community care issues and challenging discrimination if you are blind or partially sighted (or if you are a carer of someone with sight loss and need help to support them).  Call 0303 123 9999.  Lines open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Or e-mail Calls will be included as part of a mobile allowance or a landline call package. 

Discrimination issue?

The Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) helpline advises on issues relating to equality, across England, Scotland and Wales. Telephone: 0808 800 0082 Textphone: 0808 800 0084. Open Monday to Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday 10am-2pm. Their website offers translation into Welsh and the facility to speak to an adviser in BSL or text chat.

Being taken to court over debt?

Debt Advice Foundation can give you advice about your debt problems over the phone. Telephone: 0800 043 40 50. Open Monday to Friday 08:00 – 20:00, Saturday 09:00 – 17:00. If you are calling from a mobile, let the advisor know and they will call you back.

The Money Advice Service runs a Money Advice Line on 0300 500 5000 (in English) or 0300 500 5555 (in Welsh). Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm. Saturday, 9am to 1pm. Sunday and Bank Holidays, closed. To book a face-to-face Money Advice session in England phone 0333 321 3434 (call rates may vary) or book online. To book a face-to-face Money Advice session in Wales phone 0300 330 0520 (call rates may vary) or email Alternatively go to their website for their Web chat service.

National Debtline can give you advice about debt problems. Telephone: 0808 808 4000. Open Monday to Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday 9.30am-1pm. Alternatively go to their website to email them or for their Web chat service.

StepChange Debt Charity can give you free advice about debt problems. Telephone: 0800 138 1111. Open Monday to Friday 8am–8pm, Saturday 8am–4pm. Alternatively go to their website to email them or for their Live chat service.

If you have not found a service that can help you see our Help Directory or go back to the Going to the civil court section.  

April 2020

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