Access legal aid
What is it?
Legal aid is financial support granted by the State to a person with low income. The State covers all or part of the legal costs (in particular the fees of a lawyer) during a trial, depending on the person's resources.
To receive assistance, you must meet three conditions concerning your person and your resources (>> see first step in the "how to do it?").
Good to know: As an exception, legal aid from the National Court for the Right of Asylum (CNDA) does not depend on your resources . If you wish to lodge an appeal with the CNDA, you must however pay attention to the deadline which is 15 days from the notification of the OFPRA's decision .
>> To find out more about applying for legal aid in the context of an appeal to the CNDA.
You can apply for legal aid regardless of your position in the legal proceedings (civil party, witness, assisted witnesses, defendant, accused, indicted, convicted, etc.).
You can get legal aid for various legal procedures (divorce, claim for insurance compensation, etc.). Assistance may be requested before the application is lodged or during the course of the procedure. You can also apply for legal aid after the end of a procedure (for example to enforce the court decision).
Good to know: You can ask for help with this process at a House of Justice and Law (MJD) or a Law Access Point (PAD) near you.
To find a House of Justice and Law or a Law Access Point, go to: www.annonces.justice.gouv.fr and indicate your region or department in the search bar “Where? “, then click on the category “House of justice and law (MJD)” or “Point of access to law (PAD)”.
Who is it for?
What to do?
Check that you meet the three eligibility conditions for legal aid
To obtain legal aid, you must:
- Not have any legal protection insurance that covers all of your legal costs
- Be of French or European nationality, or usually reside in France
- Have a reference tax income and a value of movable and immovable assets below certain limits
Good to know: For example, in 2021, you can benefit from legal aid only if you do not exceed any of the following three ceilings:
> Income: €11,262 (for full aid) or €16,890 (for partial aid)
> Value of movable assets: €11,262
> Value of real estate assets: €33,780
You can simulate the amount of legal aid with this online service from the Ministry of Justice.
Good to know:
As a reminder, the law provides for legal aid for all asylum seekers lodging an appeal with the National Court of Asylum (CNDA). There is no means conditions.
Fill out the Cerfa form n°16146*03
You must complete the Cerfa form n°16146*03 . You can fill it out online OR download it empty to fill it out by hand OR pick it up at your town hall or at the court.
- To complete the online form, you can click on this link. This service allows you to automatically complete the form by entering your information. You can then download the already completed form to send it.
- To download the empty form (to fill it out by writing by hand), you can click here. It is strongly advised to read this notice which will help you to complete the form.
Good to know: If you need help with this process, you can contact the unique access to law number by calling 3039 . Communication is free and will allow you to be directed to the justice point closest to your home.
Send your file
You must then send your file to the legal aid office, which depends on the court which must deal with your case.
If the court of first instance or of appeal deals with your case, you can send by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt (AR) or file the application with the competent legal aid office for your domicile.
Good to know: You will find the competent office for your place of residence at the following link (see appendix 1).
If the Court of Cassation is dealing with your case , you can send the file by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt (AR) to the following address:
Court of Cassation
Legal aid office
5 Quai de l'Horloge
75055 PARIS CEDEX 01
Good to know: You can also make your request directly online on the website of the Court of Cassation.
If the Council of State is dealing with your case, you can send the file by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt (AR) to the following address:
Board of state
Legal aid office
1, place du Palais-Royal
75100 Paris cedex 01
Good to know: If you wish to file directly with the Council of State or for any other information, the contacts are available on the following link.
If the National Court for the Right of Asylum (CNDA) is dealing with your case, you can send the file by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt (AR) to the following address:
National Court of Asylum
Legal aid office
35, rue Cuvier
Good to know: If you wish to file directly with the CNDA or for any other information, all contacts are available on the following link.
Challenging the decision to refuse legal aid
In case of refusal of legal aid, you can challenge the decision of refusal of legal aid by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt (AR) to the legal aid office which rendered the decision.
Good to know : The legal aid office which rendered the decision will forward your objection to the competent authority to examine the appeal.
You must first indicate in the appeal the reasons why you are contesting the decision taken (eg an error relating to the number of people in your household or the amount of your resources). You must then attach a copy of the contested decision.
Good to know : You must pay attention to the appeal deadline since the deadlines are short. For example, the appeal period is 8 days from the notification of the refusal decision by the legal aid office of the CNDA.
Once the appeal is examined, you will be notified of the decision by mail.
If this new decision does not suit you, you will have no further recourse thereafter. This second decision is final.