What is Civil Legal Aid

What is Civil Legal Aid?

“Civil legal aid” is free or low-cost legal assistance for low-income people facing civil legal problems. Civil legal problems affect access to basic necessities such as personal safety, healthcare, housing, government benefits, employment, and educational services. Civil legal problems do not include criminal matters.

Civil legal aid includes assistance from an attorney, self-help programs, access to legal information and resources, and forms.

Oklahoma’s largest provider of free civil legal aid is Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma.

Civil legal aid supports individual and community safety and stability by:

  • Ensuring access to basic necessities such as housing, government benefits, and healthcare.
  • Helping to resolve individual safety issues such as domestic violence and elder abuse, among others.
  • Helping to navigate complicated family issues like adoption, guardianship, and divorce.
  • Fostering individual economic security by providing advice regarding employment, taxes, and consumer protection issues.

About one in five Oklahomans qualify for free civil legal assistance. Unfortunately, more than half of those seeking help must be turned away due to a lack of funding.

Access to civil legal aid improves outcomes for individuals and saves public dollars in the long term by preventing problems such as homelessness or health issues that can be costly and harmful to individuals and the public.

Increased funding and support for civil legal aid programs would ensure greater access to justice in Oklahoma.