Your safety
Only take the actions below if it is safe to do so. You are the best judge of whether taking any of the actions below might lead to further harm. In an emergency, call 999.

Accessing legal support

The information on this page is relevant to England and Wales.

If you have experienced economic abuse by an abusive partner, you may be involved in legal proceedings now or in the future. This may mean you are faced with legal bills that could be difficult to afford.  

Some support may be available through the government’s legal aid scheme, depending on your circumstances. There are also some organisations (below) that can provide support at low or no cost. 

First steps
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You may be able to access some initial, free legal advice from an advice agency before you begin legal proceedings. This can help you to decide whether you need to find a lawyer  and to think about your next steps. A lawyer is either a solicitor or a barrister. A solicitor mainly deals with legal work outside of court, and a barrister usually represents clients in court.

The following organisations may be able to support you with some advice:

Citizens Advice
Local Citizens Advice centres can offer legal advice and help you to find a local lawyer.

Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors (FLOWS)
A legal support service for women who have experienced domestic abuse. Can support you to find an advice agency or solicitor who can help you decide what to do next.

Law Works
Offers free legal advice through a network of local law clinics.

Legal Choices
Can support you to find out which area of law you need support with, whether you might need a lawyer and how to find one.

Rights of Women
The National Family Law Line run by Rights of Women can provide advice on matters including: domestic abuse; divorce, finance and property issues; parental responsibility and arrangements for children. Call on 020 7251 6577 (Tues–Thu, 7pm–9pm; Fri, 12pm–2pm).

It may also be helpful to read the information on family law from Rights of Women.

Finding a lawyer
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Some of the organisations above may be able to help you to find a lawyer. A list of lawyers that provide support to clients eligible for legal aid (government financial support) is available from Public Law Project. See more information on legal aid below.

A lawyer can outline your legal options and represent you in court. Many lawyers will offer an initial 30-minute appointment free of charge. During this appointment, it will be helpful to explain to the lawyer about the abuse you have experienced so that they understand your circumstances.

Your lawyer will perform a conflict of interest check to ensure they are not working for the abuser. This is particularly helpful if you live in an area with a small number of law firms.

You do not have to instruct the first lawyer that you meet and may wish to speak to more than one before making a decision.

Other financial support
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We have information on some hardship grants that may be available. It may be possible to get a grant to cover at least some of your costs if you are not eligible for legal aid, or if you are asked to pay contributions that you can’t afford. You can search for more grants on the Turn2us website.

Litigation loans
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It is important to speak to a money advisor if you are considering taking out a loan, such as a litigation loan, to cover your legal costs.

Litigation loans can often lead to very large amounts of debt and should be approached cautiously. 

Representing yourself
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You do not have to be represented by a lawyer. Rights of Women has information that may be helpful if you plan to represent yourself in family legal proceedings.

The following organisations may be able to support you through court proceedings with information and advice if you are representing yourself.

McKenzie Friends
Can accompany you to court if you are representing yourself in a family legal case. Experienced in court proceedings, McKenzie Friends can offer advice and support, as well as take notes.

Support Through Court 
A free service offering support and guidance before, during and after court. Can provide emotional and practical support to those without a lawyer, including explaining how the court works and filling in forms.

We have information on organisations that can provide legal advice across a wide range of issues.

Last updated January 2023

Further support

If you are experiencing economic abuse, you are not alone. We have more information that can support you to take steps towards safety and begin to regain control of your finances.