Civil legal aid - have your say!

Date published: 22 April 2024

The public is being invited to have its say on a review of civil legal services in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Justice is seeking views from people who have needed to get legal advice or help in court for issues including family courts, non-molestation order, faulty goods, exclusion from school, asylum and age/gender/sexual orientation discrimination.

Launching the Review of Civil Legal Services call for evidence, Justice Minister Naomi Long explained: “It is important your voice is heard in the decisions that affect you. The Department is asking people who have had a civil legal issue and needed advice or support to tell us about your experience.

We want to hear from members of the public, community/voluntary sector organisations, legal practitioners and children and young people about their experiences of accessing justice.”

Civil legal aid is the system of public funding that helps with the cost of legal advice, representation in court or at a tribunal and family mediation. The current annual spend for civil legal aid is approximately £50 million.

Minister Long continued: “We are keen to engage with users and suppliers of civil legal aid in Northern Ireland to increase our understanding of any barriers or other factors that may be impacting access to justice.

“The evidence and insight acquired during the review will be used to identify and evaluate potential policy, legislative or operational changes that might help to better enable citizens’ access to justice or to achieve value for money.”

The call for evidence runs from April 22 until 18 June and more information is available on the Department’s website Review of Civil Legal Aid – Call for Evidence | Department of Justice (

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption: Justice Minister Naomi Long
  2. Respond on Citizen Space using the following links:
  3. Civil Society - Call for Evidence for Civil Society - Foundational Review of Civil Legal Services - NI Direct - Citizen Space(external link opens in a new window / tab)
  4. Legal Practitioners - Call for Evidence for Legal Practitioners (Judiciary, Solicitors (in private or public practice), Barristers) - NI Direct - Citizen Space(external link opens in a new window / tab)
  5. Children and Young People - Call for Evidence for Children and Young People - Foundational Review of Civil Legal Aid - NI Direct - Citizen Space(external link opens in a new window / tab)
  6. All recommendations arising from the review will be subject to the consideration of the Department/Justice Minister and implementation will be subject to the budgetary position and necessary financial approvals.
  7. In looking at civil legal aid the following areas will be reviewed: The range of services available through legal aid; Financial Means Test; Merits Test; rates of pay for solicitors and barristers; what people pay for the cost of their help and alternatives to solicitors and the courts.
  8. Media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice press office via email at
  9. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  10. Follow us on Twitter/X @Justice_NI

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