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Coronavirus COVID-19

Covid 19

Coronavirus COVID-19 and the Legal Aid Board

The Legal Aid Board is seeking to ensure that, during this difficult period, its services to the public continue to be provided in so far as possible. Your health and safety and the health and safety of our staff are our first priority. For this reason we have had to put in place measures to help reduce the risk of spreading the Coronavirus COVID-19.

Legal aid is still available

Some courts are continuing to sit to deal with urgent matters. If you need legal aid to ask the court for protection from an abusive spouse/partner or other family member, or to enforce an access or maintenance order that is not being complied with during the Covid-19 emergency, you can apply for legal aid. If you live in Dublin you should call us at 01 675 5566 for information on how to make the court application and to apply for legal aid. Outside Dublin you should contact your local law centre.

If Tusla has informed you that it intends to apply to the court to take your children into care, or your children have been taken into care, you can apply for legal aid in connection with these proceedings. You should contact your local law centre for information on how to apply.

If you wish to apply for legal aid for any other matter, you should read the information below before doing so. If you have court proceedings that have already started you should check the Courts Service website for further information. If you do have to attend court at the moment, the Courts Service have put together this video which will tell you how to attend safely.

Legal issues that may arise because of the COVID-19 crisis

We have put together some information about legal issues that may arise because of the current crisis with a focus on private family law matters.  This information is intended as a guide only and not legal advice specific to any individual's circumstances. It does however incorporate guidance issued by stakeholders such as the Courts Service of Ireland, the Family Lawyers Association and Law Society of Ireland.  

What is generally being asked of all parties is that common sense prevails because of this crisis and that everyone should work towards agreements if at all possible.

Domestic Violence during the Covid-19 crisis
Access and Custody during the Covid-19 crisis
Maintenance  during the Covid-19 crisis
The Abhaile Scheme, Debt and Mortgage Arrears during the Covid-19 crisis
Residential and Local Authority Tenancies during Covid-19

Attending Law Centres

All Legal Aid Board offices remain open during normal office hours. However, the number of persons in the public area of a reception area is generally limited to one (or one household) unless the waiting area is large. Any other caller may be asked to wait outside. Visitors to offices will not be admitted unless they are wearing face coverings. At law centres, and subject to prevailing public health advice, face to face appointments may be offered to clients or clients may be given the option of being engaged with by telephone or by video-conference.

Where it is considered that a client indicates they may be in a higher risk category in terms of carrying the COVID-19 virus, consideration may be given by an office manager to insisting that the engagement with the client is conducted by telephone or by video-conference. While it is not appropriate to ask if a person has been vaccinated, a client or applicant may be able to allay any fears if they volunteer and establish that they have been so vaccinated.

If you need to contact a law centre you can do so by phone or email. As already noted these measures are being put in place to ensure the health and well-being of both you as customers of the Board and of our staff.

Making an application at this time

You can still apply for our services.   If you wish to enquire about applying for Family Mediation you may still do so by telephone and contact details for our mediation centres are here.  If you wish to make an application for civil legal aid at this time, we would encourage you to use our on-line application form or you can download the application form, complete it and return it to us by post.  Applications for civil legal aid for a small number of certain matters cannot be processed through our online service and will need to be made by post.   If you have any difficulties with this, please contact us on 0818 615 200 and we will endeavour to assist you.

General Information

If you are just seeking information at the moment we have lots of information on our website which may help.  We have a large section describing our services which has a series of FAQs and also includes information to check if you are financially eligible for civil legal aid.  We have information regarding family mediation.   You may be wondering if it is civil or criminal legal aid that you need so you can read about the difference between civil and criminal legal aid.

Private solicitors providing Civil Legal Aid

If you are receiving civil legal aid through a private solicitor who is a member of one of our solicitor panels, rather than a law centre, we would ask that you follow any guidance that your solicitor gives in relation to appointments, attendance at their premises, etc.  You should check their firm's or practice's website or contact them directly.

Appointments and Court Dates

If you already have an appointment with a law centre, the law centre will be in touch shortly to arrange a telephone appointment with your solicitor instead. If you have an urgent matter or need to speak with your solicitor urgently we would ask that you telephone the law centre rather than calling in person.  Family Mediation appointments are being deferred until further notice and the family mediation centres will be in touch with you in due course to reschedule. 

If your query relates to an impending court date, you should be aware that in all but urgent cases court proceedings have generally been adjourned for the moment.  The Courts Service of Ireland have issued a statement which may help

International Protection/Immigration Matters

If you are applying for international protection in Ireland, you can still apply for civil legal aid and advice.

If you are an international protection applicant or intend on making an application for International Protection at this time you should note:

The International Protection Office have issued the following guidance with regard to upcoming interviews.

Opening Hours

Reception at the International Protection Office, Timberly House, 79-83 Lower Mount Street, Dublin is open between 09:00 and 13:00 by appointment and from 13:00 to 16:00 for walk-in service, Monday to Friday.

Protection Interviews

Substantive interviews are taking place by video conference only until further notice in line with public health advice. Applicants will be contacted by registered post when their interviews are scheduled.


Questionnaires must be completed and returned to the IPO as soon as possible.
The questionnaire can be completed electronically in English, French or Arabic available at www.ipo.gov.ie . When completed email to Questionnaire@ipo.gov.ie.
It is recommended that you seek legal advice before you submit your questionnaire.

Temporary Residence Certificates (Blue card)

Information on TRC renewals (Blue Card) can be found www.ipo.gov.ie
For general immigration queries, which may also apply to international protection applicants, please see Immigration Service Delivery (ISD). This can be found at www.irishimmigration.ie.

IPAT - COVID-19 - Latest update 11th October 2021

From the week starting 4th October, the Tribunal has been able to facilitate a limited number of oral hearings on-site hearings in situations where, in application of section 31(2) of the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020, the Tribunal, of its own volition, or following the making of representations by or on behalf of an appellant, is of the opinion that to proceed with the oral hearing of the appeal via audio-video (AV) link would be unfair to an appellant, or would otherwise be contrary to the interests of justice.

Otherwise the Tribunal is continuing to conduct oral hearings via AV link and notifications have issued to all parties with details of the arrangement in place in this regard.

However, you can contact the Law Centre/Solicitor dealing with your case if you have any particular queries. 

Irish Immigration Service

The Irish Immigration Service (IIS) have issued a series of FAQs which may be relevant to you at this time.