Assistance provided by the state to persons who do not have sufficient financial means to defend themselves in court (or to bring judicial proceedings).

See also: equal access to justice of women and men; victim; survivor

Additional notes and information

Thus defined, legal aid is mainly concerned with legal representation in court. However, legal aid may also be concerned with legal advice: not everyone who encounters a legal problem will necessarily take the matter to court.

Legal aid and legal advice are often a crucial element in guaranteeing economic access to justice and the right to fair remedy, in particular to women victims of domestic violence and women from disadvantaged groups, such as migrant women.


(1) Council of Europe – European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ). Access to Justice in Europe. Report prepared by the research team on enforcement of court decisions; (2) European Commission (2013). Guidance document related to the transposition and implementation of Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA; (3) CEDAW Committee’s jurisprudence and sources gathered for the committee’s drafting of the General Recommendation on women’s access to justice.