Can I get legal aid?

No – except in a very narrow sense. The rules changed in 2013. Up until then, it was theoretically possible to find means-tested 'legal help' from a solicitor (i.e. assistance with drafting documents and so on, but not representation before the tribunal) in nearly every category of employment tribunal claim. Representation was available before the Employment Appeal Tribunal and in the higher courts.

Since 2013, 'legal help' is only available in discrimination claims brought under the Equality Act 2010. On appeal, representation remains available, at least in theory.

These developments are one of the key explanations for a very significant rise in the number of unrepresented claimants in the employment tribunal. If you are a trade union member, and provided your claim is judged to be strong enough, you are likely to qualify for representation funded by the union. (This is one of many good reasons to join a union.)

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.