We run the legal aid scheme in England and Wales
The Legal Services Commission (LSC) works in partnership with solicitors and not-for-profit organisations to help over 2 million people each year access legal advice, information and help.
Need legal advice?
For information about free, confidential and independent legal advice visit the Directgov website.
The LSC itself is unable to provide legal advice or information. Case-specific queries should be directed to your local office.
The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Ministry of Justice that is responsible for the operational administration of legal aid in England and Wales.
A non-departmental public body responsible for a budget of around £2 billion annually, and helping over 2 million people with their legal problems across England and Wales each year, the LSC was established under the Access to Justice Act 1999 and in 2000 absorbed the Legal Aid Board (founded 30 June 1949). Sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, the LSC helps to protect the fundamental rights of the individual and addresses problems that contribute to social exclusion. The Chair of the Legal Services Commission is Sir Bill Callaghan and its work is overseen by an independent board of commissioners.
The LSC is responsible for the development and administration of two service programmes:
The CLA aims to improve access to quality information and help for civil legal problems, in fields such as family, debt and housing law. CLA provides direct legal advice services to the public via its Community Legal Advice website and helpline, and also provides advice centre offices for low-income individuals and families, who are referred to participating solicitors and advice agencies that are certified through the CLA’s Quality Mark scheme.
The CDS provides free legal advice and representation for people facing criminal charges who are unable to pay for legal help. This is supplied through criminal solicitors’ offices and the Public Defender Service.
In the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill 2011, the Government plans to scrap the Commission as part of its reform of legal aid services in England and Wales.
31 October 2011
Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill