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What help is available if I cannot financially afford to pay a lawyer?


You should refer the matter to the Legal Aid Malta office. Click here for contact details.  

In civil litigation, legal aid is subject to a means test.  Click here to refere to Means and Merits test in civil matter.​
In criminal issues, legal aid is not subject to a means test. In the case of summary proceedings before the Court of Magistrates acting as a Court of Criminal Judicature the Court shall appoint the advocate whose turn it is on the daily roster. In other criminal cases, the accused will inform the Court that he or she wishes to avail himself or herself with legal aid and registers such request in the proceedings. The Court will transmit the declaration and the details of the accused to the Advocate for Legal Aid who will file a reply whether such request has been accepted and the name of the lawyer. 

Can legal aid be obtained for all disputes?

Legal aid is granted for basically any civil dispute.  
However, in case of an action relating to the correction or cancellation of any registration, or for the registration of any act of birth, marriage or death, no means test is required.
Is there a specific procedure for urgent cases?
The law does cater for urgent situations (for example the issue of a warrant) by permitting the Advocate for Legal aid to obtain provisional authorisation from the competent Court to file specific judicial acts on behalf of a person claiming legal aid, followed by an assessment as to the means, merits and procedure. 

Should the competent Court subsequently exclude the benefit of legal aid, the judicial acts filed by the Advocate for Legal Aid are not rendered null, however any future benefit shall be terminated, and the Court may order that any expenses incurred during the provisional admission shall be paid by the applicant.
 Where can I obtain an application form for legal aid?
Application forms can be filled in at the Legal Aid Malta’s office premises or by downloading it from this website. The contents of the application are to be sworn by the applicant. The request for legal aid may also be made by filing an application before the Civil Court.

Which documents should I attach to my request for legal aid?

The application to initiate a procedure to attain the services for legal aid should include the documents found in Civil Legal Aid Cases.​ 
It follows that the documents attached to the request should reflect the subject matter of the claim. For example, if the claim relates to an annulment of marriage, a copy of the marriage certificate should be attached. Any documents which the Advocate for Legal Aid might need to reach an assessment for the merits shall be produced to the Advocate for Legal Aid on demand.

How will I be informed of whether or not I am eligible for legal aid?

The applicant for legal aid service is formally informed by SMS notification, telephonically, by letter or email whether the application has been approved and legal aid granted. The applicant will be informed with the name of the lawyer and legal procurator and their mobile phone details.

If I qualify for legal aid, what should I do?


If the applicant qualifies for legal aid, he or she is informed with the name of the lawyer and legal procurator who has been assigned to assist him or her during the proceedings. Applicant will have to contact the assigned lawyer for an appointment to discuss the matter of her/his issue.



If I qualify for legal aid, who will choose my lawyer?

Once the request is approved, the applicant shall be assigned a lawyer and legal procurator whose name appears on a list at the disposal of the Court and whose turn it is according to the rota. If the applicant, for a good cause, wishes to substitute the advocate with another advocate from the rota, he may file a request before the Civil Court.

If I qualify for legal aid, will this cover all the costs of my trial?

Legal aid only covers the costs incurred by the applicant. The applicant would thus be exempt from the payment of all his or her fees and from giving security for costs. 

If the applicant succeeds in the action, he shall, out of the amount obtained or out of the proceeds of the judicial sale by auction of the movable or immovable property effected in pursuance of the judgment, pay the fees due to the registry, advocate, legal procurator and to the curators and referees (if any), saving his right of reimbursement as against the party who may have been ordered to pay such fees.

If I qualify for partial legal aid, who will pay the other costs?​

In Malta, the concept of partial legal aid does not apply. That means that the applicant is either given legal aid or refused legal aid. If the party proceeding with the benefit for legal aid is cast with the costs of the case, the Registrar of the Civil Court and Tribunals cannot claim from the successful party the fees due to the Registry.

If I qualify for legal aid, will it cover any review I might make following the trial?​

If applicant qualifies for legal aid, he or she will be entitled to such assistance at all levels, including assistance before the appellate courts. ​

If I qualify for legal aid, can it be withdrawn before the end of the trial (or even after the trial)?

If it is proved to the Court that at the time the benefit for legal aid was granted applicant knowingly possessed capital and income exceeding that established for the grant of legal aid, or during the course of the trial, applicant knowingly had an increase in his financial circumstances in excess of that established for the grant of legal aid and failed to report same to the Civil Court, the Court may condemn the applicant with contempt of court. Perjury proceedings may also be instituted against the applicant. 

In both cases applicant shall be liable personally for all costs of the proceedings to which he would have been liable if the benefit of legal aid had not been granted to him. ​

If I do not qualify for legal aid, can I appeal against this decision?​

There is no appeal from a decision refusing the granting of legal aid. However, if the report drawn up by the Advocate for Legal Aid is not in favour of the applicant, the Civil Court shall examine the report, and shall give the parties the opportunity to make their submissions before it decides on whether to accept the adverse report or to reject the report and admit the demand.

Are Companies registered under the Companies Act entitled for legal aid?​

Article 926 of Chapter 12 of the Laws of Malta states that Companies registered under the Companies Act shall not be entitled to the benefit of legal aid.​

Are persons arraigned in criminal cases means tested?

In criminal cases, legal aid is not subject to a means test.​

Applicable law in Civil proceedings.

The current applicable law for the benefit of granting to sue or defend with the benefit of Legal Aid in Civil Proceeding is found under Title X of Chapter 12 of the Laws of Malta (Articles 911 to 926).​

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