Call for Evidence for Civil Society - Foundational Review of Civil Legal Services

Closes 18 Jun 2024

Opened 22 Apr 2024


The Department of Justice is conducting a review of civil legal aid in Northern Ireland.  Access to an efficient, effective and responsive legal aid service is a vital component of any democratic society.  The purpose of this review is to examine currently funded civil legal services and, where relevant, make recommendations for reform.    

Why your views matter

If you have ever had a legal issue or a dispute where you needed advice and support, we are keen to hear from you and to learn about your experience of accessing justice.   We are also keen to take the views of all civil society, regardless of whether they have, at some point in their lives, needed to seek legal advice and help in court, on our proposed opportunities for reform.

The justice system is how your rights are protected. If you are ever faced with, for example, divorce, discrimination, a neighbour dispute, or to simply seek your money back on faulty goods, you may need to seek help and support. Many of you may never have come into contact with the justice system before and may find the system to be difficult to understand and may not know what to do or where to go for help. Not every case necessarily needs to end up in court action or require the use of a solicitor. But when it does, we want to ensure our systems are effective, efficient and responsive to your needs.

By learning more about the experiences of those who have gone through the civil justice system, we can have a system where people are able to tackle problems before they become worse; they can access alternative dispute resolution services which could cost them less, resolve the issue sooner and avoid the stress of going to court, and still be able to access the courts when needed.

It can help us ensure our civil legal aid budget is enhancing access to justice by directing our resources towards those most in need of legal help and ensuring our systems are accessible and provide value for money.

This Call for Evidence is your opportunity to tell us about your experience and whether you encountered any barriers or other factors that impacted on your access to justice. We want to hear from members of the public, community and voluntary sector organisations, and anyone with an interest in access to justice.  We want to give you a chance to give your say on where we think reform would make the most impact in terms of enhancing access to justice and value for money.

A separate Call for Evidence for Children and Young People and for Legal Practitioners has been published.

If you are completing this Call for Evidence as a member of the public, please do not provide any personal details.  If you are completing this on behalf of an organisation, please provide the name of the organisation and an email address.  

All responses will remain anonymous and will not be identifiable within this Call for Evidence.

In accordance with data protection laws, information obtained will be stored on password protected computers. The data will be kept for a minimum of five years, or at least two years post-publication. It will then be destroyed.

The closing date and time for responses is 11 June 2024 at 23:59.
If you have any further questions about this Call for Evidence, would like to complete a paper based version of the questionnaire or submit your views in writing, please contact 

Your help and input is very much appreciated.


  • Parents
  • All stakeholders
  • Citizens
  • Business
  • Voluntary and Community Sector
  • Homeowners
  • Government Department
  • Local Government
  • Statutory Body
  • Private Sector
  • Charity, Community and Voluntary
  • Academia
  • Advocate groups
  • Health and social care providers – statutory
  • Health and social care providers – non-statutory
  • Health professionals
  • Health and social care staff
  • Benefits Customers
  • Disability Organisations
  • People with Disabilities
  • Community & Voluntary Organisations


  • Courts
  • Family Justice
  • Civil Justice