Legal Aid Campaign

Publication cover - Civil Legal Aid in Ireland: 40 years on Cover image for Civil Legal Aid in Ireland: 40 years on

FLAC campaigns for a comprehensive civil legal aid service. Civil legal aid is different from criminal legal aid, which is available to all those who meet certain criteria. In Ireland, state civil legal aid is provided through the Legal Aid Board. FLAC has provided information and advice to those in need since 1969.

Through FLAC's office, and in conjunction with Citizens Information, legal advice centres around the country provide free legal advice to those who need it. Unlike the state legal aid service, this service is free. In contrast to the state service where over 90% of the case work is in family law, data from FLAC's legal advice centres show that only one in three callers seek assistance in this area.

FLAC calls on the state to deliver a comprehensive civil legal aid service to those who need it in order to access justice. FLAC has analysed the service and has issued a full set of recommendations on how this could be achieved.

At a minimum, the state must provide a service which

  • is wider in scope
  • has a reasonable means test, if it is to have one at all
  • is more widely publicised
  • is transparent in its procedures for assessment
  • is transparent in its procedures for appeals procedure
  • has clearly understandable criteria for assessing cases of hardship

In September 2006 the Legal Aid Board revised its means test requirements for legal aid. Some of FLAC's recommendations were taken up but much remains to be done. You can read our press release on the means test changes for more details. For information on how to access civil legal aid download FLAC's Civil Legal Aid Fact Sheet.

Campaign Resources

  • You can download a FLACsheet on Civil Legal Aid which explains the state scheme as of October 2011.
  • In April 2009, FLAC published a report on unmet legal need in Ireland, detailing the ongoing gaps in civil legal aid and including a study in an area of North-East Inner City Dublin. The report, entitled Civil Legal Aid in Ireland: 40 Years On, is free to download from the site but a print copy may be obtained by contacting FLAC.
  • In July 2005, FLAC published a report on legal aid in Ireland to date, examining it from the angles of rights, scope of Irish and international legislation, eligibility and delivery. The report, entitled Access to Justice: A Right or a Privilege? includes a Blueprint for Civil Legal Aid in Ireland which is essentially a guide to why and how a comprehensive system of civil legal aid should be made available by the state.You can download a copy of the report, or of the Executive Summary.

Take Action

Please contact us at

  • if you have difficulties accessing civil legal aid, or if you feel that you have been unfairly treated
  • if you feel that you should be able to get legal aid for your civil (non-criminal) case, and you have been told that it is not available