Search Legislation

Legal Aid Act 1988


This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

  1. Introductory Text

  2. Part I Preliminary

    1. 1.Purpose of this Act

    2. 2.Interpretation

  3. Part II Legal Aid Board and Legal Aid

    1. 3.The Legal Aid Board

    2. 4.Powers of the Board

    3. 5.Duties of the Board

    4. 6.Board to have separate legal aid fund

    5. 7.Accounts and audit

  4. Part III Advice and Assistance

    1. 8.Scope of this Part

    2. 9.Availability of, and payment for, advice and assistance

    3. 10.Financial limit on prospective cost of advice or assistance

    4. 11.Payment for advice or assistance otherwise than through legally assisted person’s contribution

    5. 12.Limit on costs against person receiving assistance by way of representation

    6. 13.Costs of successful unassisted parties

  5. Part IV Civil Legal Aid

    1. 14.Scope of this Part

    2. 15.Availability of, and payment for, representation under this Part

    3. 16.Reimbursement of Board by contributions and out of costs or property recovered

    4. 17.Limit on costs against assisted party

    5. 18.Costs of successful unassisted parties

  6. Part V Criminal Legal Aid

    1. 19.Scope of this Part

    2. 20.Competent authorities to grant representation under this Part

    3. 21.Availability of representation under this Part

    4. 22.Criteria for grant of representation for trial proceedings

    5. 23.Reimbursement of public funds by contributions

    6. 24.Contribution orders: supplementary

    7. 25.Payment of costs of representation under this Part

    8. 26.Payment for advice or assistance where representation under this Part is subsequently granted

  7. Part VI Legal Aid in Special Cases

    1. Care proceedings

      1. 27.Representation in care proceedings: scope and competent authorities

      2. 28.Care proceedings: availability

    2. Contempt proceedings

      1. 29.Representation in contempt proceedings

    3. Supplementary

      1. 30.Supplementary

  8. Part VII General and Supplementary

    1. 31.Act not generally to affect position of legal representatives or other parties

    2. 32.Selection and assignment of legal representatives

    3. 33.Legal aid complaints against barristers and their exclusion from legal aid work

    4. 34.Regulations

    5. 35.Advisory Committee

    6. 36.Orders and regulations: general

    7. 37.Laying of Board’s annual reports before Parliament

    8. 38.Restriction of disclosure of information

    9. 39.Proceedings for misrepresentation etc

    10. 40.Adaptation of rights of indemnity in cases of advice, assistance or representation in civil proceedings

    11. 41.Application to Crown

    12. 42.Finance

    13. 43.Definitions

  9. Part VIII Miscellaneous

    1. Scottish provisions

      1. 44.Scottish provisions

    2. Supplementary

      1. 45.Amendments, repeals and transitional provisions

      2. 46.Amendments of Legal Aid Act 1974 pending repeal

      3. 47.Short title, commencement and extent


    1. SCHEDULE 1

      The Legal Aid Board

      1. Incorporation and Status

        1. 1.The Board shall be a body corporate.

        2. 2.The Board shall not be regarded as the servant or...

      2. Tenure of Members

        1. 3.Subject to paragraphs 4 and 5 any member of the...

        2. 4.(1) The chairman or a member may resign office by...

        3. 5.The Lord Chancellor may terminate the appointment of a member...

      3. Members' interests

        1. 6.(1) Before appointing a person to be a member of...

        2. 7.(1) A member of the Board who is in any...

      4. Remuneration of members

        1. 8.(1) The Board may— (a) pay to its members such...

      5. Staff

        1. 9.(1) The Board shall appoint a person to be the...

        2. 10.(1) The Board shall make, in respect of such of...

      6. Proceedings

        1. 11.(1) Subject to anything in regulations, the Board may regulate...

      7. Instruments

        1. 12.(1) The fixing of the seal of the Board shall...

      8. Allowances

        1. 13.The Board may pay to the members of any committee...

    2. SCHEDULE 2

      Civil Proceedings: Scope of Part IV Representation

      1. Part I Description of Proceedings

        1. 1.Proceedings in, or before any person to whom a case...

        2. 2.The following proceedings in a magistrates' court, namely—

        3. 3.Proceedings in the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

        4. 4.Proceedings in the Lands Tribunal.

        5. 5.Proceedings before a Commons Commissioner appointed under section 17(1) of...

        6. 6.Proceedings in the Restrictive Practices Court under Part III of...

      2. Part II Excepted proceedings

        1. 1.Proceedings wholly or partly in respect of defamation, but so...

        2. 2.Relator actions.

        3. 3.Proceedings for the recovery of a penalty where the proceedings...

        4. 4.Election petitions under the Representation of the People Act 1983....

        5. 5.In a county court, proceedings for or consequent on the...

        6. 6.Proceedings incidental to any proceedings excepted by this Part of...

    3. SCHEDULE 3

      Criminal proceedings: Enforcement of Contribution Orders

      1. Part I Orders made by a court

        1. Collecting court

          1. 1.In this Part “collecting court”, in relation to a contribution...

        2. Enforcement proceedings

          1. 2.(1) Any sum required to be paid by a contribution...

          2. 3.(1) Without prejudice to paragraph 2, any sum required to...

          3. 4.(1) Any expenses incurred by the clerk of a magistrates'...

        3. Transfer of enforcement proceedings to different court

          1. 5.(1) Where in relation to any contribution order it appears...

        4. Limitations on enforcement by proceedings

          1. 6.Any sum due under a contribution order shall not be...

          2. 7.Where a contribution order has been made in respect of...

        5. Power to defer enforcement proceedings

          1. 8.The collecting court may defer recovering any sum due under...

        6. Interpretation

          1. 9.In this Part— (a) “relevant grant of representation”, in relation...

      2. Part II Orders made by the Board

        1. Limitations on enforcement by proceedings

          1. 10.(1) Any sum due under a contribution order shall not...

          2. 11.Where a contribution order has been made in respect of...

    4. SCHEDULE 4

      Amendments of Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 (c. 47)

      1. Part I Direct payment of fees and outlays by legally assisted person

        1. 1.In section 4(2) (payments out of the Scottish Legal Aid...

        2. 2.In section 16— (a) subsection (1) is repealed;

        3. 3.In section 17 (contributions, etc.)— (a) in subsection (1), for...

        4. 4.In section 32 (a) (restriction on payment etc.), the words...

        5. 5.In section 33 (fees and outlays of solicitors and counsel)...

        6. 6.In section 36(2) (regulations), in paragraph (b) at end add—...

      2. Part II Liability of legally assisted person for expenses to be assessed in all cases

        1. 7.In section 18 (expenses)— (a) subsection (1) is repealed;

        2. 8.In section 19(1) (expenses out of the Fund), for the...

        3. 9.In section 20(1) (supplementary), for the words “sections 18 and”...

      3. Part III Board’s property to be rateable

        1. 10.In Schedule 1, paragraph 2(4) is repealed.

    5. SCHEDULE 5

      Minor and Consequential Amendments

      1. Public Records Act 1958 (c. 51)

        1. 1.In Schedule 1 to the Public Records Act 1958 (definition...

      2. Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 (c. 13)

        1. 2.In Schedule 2 to the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 (which...

      3. Attachment of Earnings Act 1971 (c. 32)

        1. 3.In section 25(1) of the Attachment of Earnings Act 1971,...

      4. House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (c. 24)

        1. 4.In Part III of Schedule 1 to the House of...

      5. Northern Ireland Assembly Disqualification Act 1975 (c. 25)

        1. 5.In Part III of Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland...

      6. Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (c. 65)

        1. 6.In section 75(4) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975—

      7. Race Relations Act 1976 (c. 74)

        1. 7.In section 66(6) of the Race Relations Act 1976—

      8. Child Care Act 1980 (c. 5)

        1. 8.In section 21A of the Child Care Act 1980, after...

      9. Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (c. 43)

        1. 9.In section 92(1)(b) of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, for...

      10. Supreme Court Act 1981 (c. 54)

        1. 10.In section 47(7) of the Supreme Court Act 1981, for...

      11. Telecommunications Act 1984 (c. 12)

        1. 11.In section 52 of the Telecommunications Act 1984, the following...

      12. Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (c. 23)

        1. 12.In section 19(2)(b) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985,...

        2. 13.In section 20(2) of that Act, for the words “out...

        3. 14.In section 21(1) of that Act, for the definition of...

        4. 15.In section 21 of that Act, after subsection (4), there...

      13. Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 (c. 60)

        1. 16.In section 11 of the Child Abduction and Custody Act...

      14. Administration of Justice Act 1985 (c. 61)

        1. 17.In section 40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985...

        2. 18.In section 43 of that Act (jurisdiction and powers of...

        3. 19.In section 44 of that Act— (a) in subsection (3),...

      15. Housing Act 1985 (c. 68)

        1. 20.In section 170(5) of the Housing Act 1985—

      16. Family Law Act 1986 (c. 55)

        1. 21.Section 64 of the Family Law Act 1986 (family proceedings...

      17. Criminal Justice Act 1987 (c. 38)

        1. 22.In section 4(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987, for...

    6. SCHEDULE 6


    7. SCHEDULE 7


      1. Preliminary

        1. 1.In this Schedule—“the 1974 Act” means the Legal Aid Act...

      2. The Legal Aid Fund

        1. 2.(1) On the appointed day the legal aid fund (“the...

      3. Rights, obligations and property

        1. 3.(1) Subject to paragraph 2, on the appointed day all...

      4. Transfer of functions

        1. 4.(1) Any grant of legal aid under Part I of...

      5. Legal aid contribution orders

        1. 5.Notwithstanding their repeal by this Act, the provisions of the...

      6. The Board: transfers of employment

        1. 6.(1) The Board shall make, not later than such date...

        2. 7.(1) Where a person becomes an employee of the Board...

        3. 8.(1) Any dispute as to whether an offer purporting to...

        4. 9.(1) In the event of the Board assuming under section...

      7. Pensions

        1. 10.Any arrangements made by the Law Society under section 19...

      8. Representation in affiliation proceedings: transitory provision

        1. 11.Until the repeal of the Affiliation Proceedings Act 1957 by...

    8. SCHEDULE 8

      Transitory Amendments of Legal Aid Act 1974

      1. Preliminary

        1. 1.In this Schedule “the 1974 Act” means the Legal Aid...

      2. Regulation of charges on property

        1. 2.In section 20(2)(e) of the 1974 Act (regulation of charge...

      3. Remuneration

        1. 3.In section 39 of the 1974 Act, for subsection (3)...

        2. 4.(1) In Schedule 2 to the 1974 Act (remuneration in...

Back to top


Print Options


Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.


Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources

More Resources

Use this menu to access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • correction slips

Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including:

  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • links to related legislation and further information resources