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Advice and assistance and civil legal aid keycard

About the Keycard

This Keycard sets out the various eligibility limits, contributions and clawback levels in advice and assistance and civil legal aid in force from 2 April 2018. During the course of this year there may be further updates and changes to this Keycard.

For more guidance on eligibility, contributions and clawback, please refer to the Legal Assistance Handbooks.

This page contains the keycard information for:

Advice and assistance

Civil legal aid


You can also download this keycard as a PDF.


Definitions used in the keycard


Advice and Assistance


Assessing eligibility

A client’s income and capital must be within the current financial limits to qualify for advice and assistance.

We recommend you assess their disposable capital before assessing income, since if they do not qualify on capital, they are ineligible for advice and assistance – even if they receive “passport” benefits (that is, income support, an income-related employment and support allowance or income- based jobseeker’s allowance).


Assessing eligibility on capital

Disposable capital – from 2 April 2018

£1,716 maximum eligibility


Assessing eligibility on income


You should deduct the following standard allowances against income for the maintenance of:

Partner  living with the applicant
Any dependant person, adult (other than partner) or child (but do not include any foster children), who is wholly or substantially maintained, being a member of the applicant’s household


Deduct the actual maintenance paid for the last seven days, not the standard allowance, if:


Civil advice and assistance – diagnostic cases


Initial limit of authorised expenditure


Clawback and regulation 16(3)


Civil legal aid


Eligibility limits

To do work as a matter of special urgency under regulation 18, you have to complete the mandate which is designed to assist you to assess your client’s financial eligibility. The mandate can be found either in section D of the CIV/SOL Family or CIV/SOL Non Family applications or in the CIV/SU (Special Urgency) application. To complete the mandate you need to apply the current eligibility limits and allowances, which are:

Disposable income

The lower disposable income limit, on or below which a person will not have to pay a contribution from income £3,521
The upper disposable income limit, above which a person will be ineligible on income £26,239


Allowances for a partner and dependants

Partner living with the applicant £2,177
For any dependant person who is wholly or substantially maintained, being a member of the applicant’s household, who is not entitled to any income from any source in their own right £3,488


Particular situations


Calculating income contributions

Disposable capital
The lower capital eligibility limit, on or below which a person will not have to pay a contribution £7,853
The upper capital eligibility limit, above which SLAB may refuse a person legal aid if it considers they can afford to proceed without it £13,017


If someone’s disposable capital is between £7,853 and £13,017 they are eligible on capital, but will have to pay a contribution. This contribution is equal to the difference between their capital and
Unlike advice and assistance there are no statutory allowances from capital for partners or dependants.

Clawback limits




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