Since 1949 it has been possible to apply for financial help with legal costs under the Legal Aid provisions. This is specifically for those on low incomes, thereby ensuring that all citizens are able to access legal advice and representation, much needed in a complex system in which lawyers gain expertise over many years.
Of course, this cost the tax-payers billions of pounds. The Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) reduced the number of people eligible to receive Legal Aid. Only serious cases are now considered, according to set criteria. However, there are charities such as Citizens Advice, the Law Centres, LawWorks clinics and others which can offer assistance.
Unfortunately, it is thought that LASPO is a factor in the increased number of people representing themselves in court with little knowledge of what to do or say.