Legal Aid

Legal aid is a state-funded facility that provides financial assistance to people who might otherwise struggle to afford legal representation and access to the court system.

Legal aid is widely regarded as an essential tool in providing universal access to justice by ensuring equality before the law, the right to counsel and the right to a fair trial. Legal aid is available to people who meet the appropriate criteria for certain types of work only.

Legal aid is issued through contracts with law firms to cover specified geographic areas and types of work. Coodes holds contracts to provide legal aid-funded advice and legal services in the following areas:

Family Law

We hold a legal aid contract for the whole of Cornwall and the Holsworthy area in North Devon. This is for the following areas of expertise:

  • Domestic Abuse
  • Child Abduction in the UK
  • Social Services involvement with children
  • If the person needing advice is under 18
  • Divorce
  • Contact
  • Finances


You are entitled to high-quality professional legal representation and at Coodes we take that right very seriously. We are committed to the provision of criminal legal aid defence work and private criminal defence work where legal aid is not available to you.

We cover all courts in Devon and Cornwall, particularly the Magistrates’ Courts in Plymouth, Bodmin and Truro, but we are also able to arrange representation for you nationally if you have been summonsed or charged to appear out of the local area.

If you are not eligible for legal aid, we can still offer you representation on a guaranteed fixed-fee basis. We will discuss this with you in advance so that you know exactly what our fees will be, and with no hidden charges.


Clinical Negligence – Birth Injury Cases

We hold the legal aid contract for Cornwall to provide services to those who have suffered a birth injury, which includes children who have suffered serious brain injury during pregnancy, childbirth or during their first eight weeks of life.

If this injury has resulted in severe disability to the child, public funding may also be available to investigate a medical negligence claim.

Mental Health

Legal aid is available for all patients who are detained in a hospital or care home for representation before the Mental Health Tribunal or the Court of Protection. This is not means tested.

Legal aid may also be available for other issues related to the Mental Health Act, including eligibility for aftercare services and for health and welfare decisions in the Court of Protection. This is means tested.

Legal aid may be available for relatives’ interested parties if they qualify financially.

Legal Aid Assessment

Some of these areas of law require additional criteria to be met to qualify for legal aid. Please contact us to discuss this.

We will always offer a free 20-minute appointment for the purpose of assessing your eligibility for legal aid.

If you are not eligible for legal aid, we will be as clear as possible with you about costs from the outset. We will agree and set cost limits and send you regular bills and updates to ensure that there is never any uncertainty about our fees.

We recognise that legal fees are unusual costs and that many people will not have previously budgeted for them or have ready access to funds. We are happy to discuss flexible payment arrangements and can also take payments by debit and credit card.

For any further information, please contact us on 0800 328 3282 or

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