Apply for legal aid or legal aid in court

You can apply for legal aid if you are demonstrably unable to enforce legitimate claims in court or to defend yourself against claims of another. In family court matters and matters of voluntary jurisdiction, legal aid is called legal aid.

Financial support can be provided from the treasury for almost all court proceedings. Depending on your personal and economic circumstances, you do not have to pay for litigation costs or only with partial payments. If necessary, up to 48 monthly instalments are due, the amount of which the court determines with the authorisation.

In general, defendants in criminal proceedings do not receive legal aid. In criminal matters, only the victim (e.g. as a subsidiary plaintiff) and the plaintiff who prosecutes certain criminal offences in court without the help of the public prosecutor (private plaintiffs) are entitled to apply.

Note: As financial support outside of judicial proceedings, you will also be provided with counselling assistance upon request.

  • Passport or identity card
  • Proof of income or tax assessment
  • Completed form "Declaration on personal and economic circumstances"
  • Rental contract (reasonable rental costs are taken into account)
  • Other supporting documents on expenditure, income and assets


Prerequisites are:

  • You cannot raise the necessary funds due to your personal and economic circumstances.
  • The intended legal action or defence has the prospect of success.
  • The exercise of rights is not willful.


You are obligated, during the court proceedings and within a period of 4 years from the final decision or other termination of the proceedings, to make significant improvements to your economic situation or to change your address unsolicited and without delay. In the case of current income, each not only one-off improvement of more than EUR 100.00 (gross) per month must be reported. If any deductions are reduced, you must also notify you without being requested and without delay if the discharge does not only exceed EUR 100.00 once per month.

The granting of the process or legal aid may be cancelled in the event of a breach of this obligation, with the result that the entire costs must be repaid.

Related Links

  • §§ 114 bis 127 Zivilprozessordnung (ZPO) Prozesskostenhilfe und Prozesskostenvorschuss im Zivilprozess
  • §§ 1076 f. Zivilprozessordnung (ZPO) Prozesskostenhilfe in der EU

You can make the "application for legal aid" informally. In the application, you must present the dispute in detail and in full. Also specify any available evidence. They must also attach a statement of your personal and economic circumstances to the application on the required form.

If you need assistance with the application, you can contact a lawyer's office. The application may also be submitted directly by a lawyer.

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Hessian Ministry of Justice

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