Family Legal Aid is being scrapped mostly
Up until April 1st 2013 any person seeking to apply for a Divorce, Child Contact, Child Residence, Parental Responsibility, Prohibited Steps, Specific Issue, Financial Order, Financial Injunction, Trust of Land Act & Appointment of Trustees Act application or separation advice or family breakdown advice provided they met the eligibility criteria in respect of financial circumstances they would have been entitled to Legal Aid.
From April 2013 any individual requiring advice in these areas will no longer be eligible for Legal Aid as these type of cases have been taken out of scope of eligibility. This means that individuals will be faced with a choice of either representing themselves in a legal minefield, which can be extremely difficult to navigate or in instructing solicitors to act for them on a private basis which can mean considerable cost.
At Clarkson Hirst we are aware that individuals will worry about the costs of making applications to the Court and to make life easier and more manageable we have available a fixed fee service for all areas of family work. Our fixed fee service allows clients to establish exactly what the cost will be for us to deal with the case up to each stage. We have broken this down into different areas so clients can see exactly what it is going to costs to reach each stage of the case.
We are happy to discuss our fixed fees and offer a free 30 minute appointment to discuss your case further.
Family Legal Aid what is still covered?
Many people are only now realising that Family Legal Aid is being massively reduced by the Government from April 2013. For example, people previously receiving income support or employment and support allowance would automatically have been entitled to Legal Help and Help at Court advice under the Legal Aid scheme meaning they could instruct a solicitor free of charge to undertake a divorce for them or given separation advice. Divorce is no longer covered by Legal Aid and from April 2013 individuals receiving income support or employment and support allowance will have to pay for their divorce privately despite their limited income. We hope that our clear fixed fee structures will ease some of the worry of dealing with divorce or separation despite the fact that legal aid will no longer cover such things.
Many people worry about what is going to be left available and it is important that if you are concerned about whether your case is eligible for Legal Aid you should consult with a solicitor. Broadly speaking domestic violence and public law children, i.e. care proceedings will remain eligible for Legal Aid. If your divorce case involves aspects of domestic violence it may too remain eligible but we would need to discuss this with you further to establish whether your case will fall within the strict guidelines of what is still eligible. If Clarkson Hirst can be of any assistance you should contact one of our family solicitors Kerry Davies or Suzanne Willey or our trainee solicitor Anna Wilkinson who can advise further.