Civil Legal Advice Gateway claim assessment

Civil Legal Advice (CLA) - formerly Community Legal Advice (CLA) - is a national advice line which provides civil legal aid gateway work.

This content applies to England & Wales

CLA gateway

Clients with a problem in areas of civil law can either contact Civil Legal Advice (CLA) or a face-to-face legal aid provider with a contract in the relevant area of law.

CLA assesses clients' initial financial eligibility and that their problems are covered by civil legal aid (ie within scope). It thens provide legal help over the phone or online. When appropriate, it refers eligible clients to specialist CLA advisers to deal with their problems.

Specialist advice

CLA advisers are trained to provide information on any issue, but free specialist advice is only available to those eligible for legal aid with issues 'within scope'. These are: 

  • debt (including mortgage repossession)

  • special educational needs

  • employment

  • family (including issues around a child being taken into care)

  • housing (including homelessness and possession of rented property)

  • welfare benefits (only with regard to appeals before the Upper Tribunal or higher court). 

Eligible clients in these areas will be given advice primarily by phone or online. If clients are in need of Legal Representation they will be referred for face-to-face advice.

When appropriate, CLA will refer the client on to a legal aid provider with a contract in the relevant category of law.

Accessing CLA

The CLA advice service can be accessed in the following ways:

Online

CLA can be accessed online.

People in need of legal aid services will be asked to fill in an online form providing their contact details, their personal circumstances and financial information, and particulars of their legal problems.

A secure 'My advice' account will be created where clients can view the information they have provided to CLA and exchange messages about their case with an adviser.

By telephone

The CLA telephone advice service can be contacted by:

  • Telephone: 0845 345 4 345

  • Minicom: 0845 609 6677

Lines are open:

  • Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm

  • Saturday 9am to 12:30pm

Calls cost 4p a minute from a BT landline. Mobile calls usually cost more.

Call back service

Applicants who cannot afford to call CLA can text ‘legalaid’ giving their name to 80010 in order to be called back. Alternatively, they can book a call back online.

Last updated: 23 February 2021