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.

If you can afford to pay for legal advice, do. It will often save you money in the long run. You may also be able to get help to pay for legal advice about your civil case.

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. If you need help with bankruptcy or managing your money email their debt team at:

To apply for an advice appointment, download the civil assessment form from their homepage, complete it, and email to They will assess your advice needs and either send you a link to book an appointment or give you details of who else can help you.

If you have a general query please contact us via

Housing issue?

Shelter (England) gives advice over the phone about urgent housing problems. Call: 0808 800 4444. Open Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm and closed on bank holidays. Calls are free from UK landlines and all major UK mobile operators. They ask that you look at their online advice first or use their webchat service before you call the helpline due to high demand.  Webchat is open Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm and closed on bank holidays. They also have advice centres where you can get personal, face to face advice. You can use your postcode to search for a centre local to you: Shelter advice centres

Shelter Cymru can advise on housing problems if you live in Wales. If your problem is urgent call: 08000 495 495. Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm (Freephone). They ask you to read their online advice and chat to an adviser through their webchat first. Shelter Cymru also runs advice surgeries across Wales. To find out when there is an adviser in your area, see: Shelter Cymru - advice near you.

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 200 free legal advice clinics that provide initial advice to individuals on various areas of law, including social welfare issues, employment, housing, and consumer disputes. 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, digitally or in person. 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. 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. If you have a query about community care and you are not eligible for legal aid call: 0207 791 9809,  Monday-Wednesday 2pm - 5.30pm. Leave a message during opening hours with your details to receive a call back.

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 to Friday 8am - 8pm and Saturdays 9am - 1pm. Or e-mail or say :"Alexa, call RNIB Helpline." 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 0082. Open Monday to Friday 9am - 7pm, Saturday 10am-2pm. You can also email them using their online contact form. Their website offers translation into Welsh and the facility to speak to an adviser in BSL or text chat.You may also mail to their freepost address: FREEPOST EASS HELPLINE FPN6521. If you are contacting them by post about an issue for the first time, please do not send any documents with your letter. They will come back to you to let you know what documents they will need to see.

Being taken to court over debt?

Debt Advice Foundation can give you free, confidential advice about your debt problems over the phone. Telephone: 0800 043 40 50. Open Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm. If you are calling from a mobile, let the advisor know and they will call you back.

MoneyHelper (previously The Money Advice Service) runs a Money Advice Line on 0800 138 7777 (in English) or 0800 138 5555 (in Welsh). For typetalk call: 18001 0800 915 4622. From overseas, call 020 3553 2279. Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and closed on bank holidays and weekends. You can send a WhatsApp message at +4477 0134 2744. You can also submit a questions through their online money guidance enquiry formAlternatively go to their website for their Webchat service available Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, excluding weekends and bank holidays. 

National Debtline can give you advice about debt problems. Telephone: 0808 808 4000. Open Monday to Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday 9.30am-1pm. If you are calling from abroad, phone +44121 227 4780. Alternatively go to their website for their Webchat service. Helpful factsheets and sample letters are also available online.

StepChange Debt Charity can give you free, confidential advice about debt problems. Telephone: 0800 138 1111. Open Monday to Friday 8am–8pm, Saturday 9am–2pm. Alternatively go to the website to access their online debt advice service, available 24/7, 365 days a year.

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.  

January 2024

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