Legal Aid in the UK
Please note that legal aid is not available for nearly all compensation claim types as such priviledges were removed by the government some time ago. In it's place solicitors themselves offer services such as "no win, no fee" arrangements whereby you do not have to pay any money upfront and should the solicitor lose the case you will not have to pay them a penny.
The Legal Services Commission is the organisation that deals with legal aid for England and Wales. The Legal Services Commission make sure that people get the information, advice and legal help they need to deal with a wide range of problems including debt, housing, welfare benefits and crime. They work with solicitors and similarly pro-active organisations to provide services to help people in need.
They have around 1,650 staff in 15 offices across England and Wales with their head office based in London working through the Community Legal Service and the Criminal Defence Service. They are a non-departmental public body and partnered with, but quite separate from, the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA). - http://www.legalservices.gov.uk
The Legal Services Commission website cannot provide you with any real legal advice, that is left to the Community Legal Service Direct services. Here you can use their CLS Direct Legal Aid Calculator to see if you are eligible for legal aid in the first place to fund your civil case. You will be asked a series of questions about your legal problem and financial situation (completely confidential and anonymous). Obviously the calculator's results do not guarantee that you will receive CLS-funded help but will act as a guide. - http://www.clsdirect.org.uk
The Scottish Legal Aid Board was set up in 1987 to manage legal aid in Scotland, their mission statement: "To promote the development and delivery of appropriate access to quality legal assistance for those eligible, in a cost effective manner." Legal aid allows people who would not otherwise be able to afford it to get help for their legal problems. Read more about our work in the about us section. The Board is situated in Edinburgh, employing around 300 full-time staff. Twelve Board members, appointed by Scottish Ministers, oversee the work. - http://www.slab.org.uk
The Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission aim is to promote fair and equal access to justice in Northern Ireland in its provision of publicly funded legal services and to provide high quality, customer focused services that target those in greatest need and demonstrate value for money. They do this mainly by funding lawyers and other advice providers which help people who are eligible for legal aid to protect their rights in civil matters, as well as those people under investigation, or facing criminal charges. The Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission assumed responsibility on 1 November 2003 for the provision of publicly funded services in Northern Ireland. The Commission is an executive Non-Departmental Public Body that is sponsored by the Northern Ireland Court Service, (again) a part of the Department of Constitutional Affairs. - http://www.nilsc.org.uk