6 Months Later – Legal Aid Changes, The Story So Far…

In April this year I wrote about the Legal Aid cuts which came in to effect on the first of that month.  You will no doubt remember that this meant that legal aid funding was not available for

“divorce, financial remedy and proceedings relating to children with no element of domestic abuse of involvement of children’s services.”

 The figure of people estimated to be affected by those changes in Lancashire was forecast at 8,000 people.It is regrettable that the Legal Aid Agency has reported recently that the take up of the legal aid that is available is significantly lower than was expected.  I suspect that the reason for this is due to the fact that quite often, a person would seek advice and assistance in one area and this would then lead to resolving all of their issues.

Family mediation was the governments net to catch the people who were not eligible to deal with matters under legal aid.  It is reported that referrals to mediation have also reduced significantly.

What many people don’t realise, is that legal aid is still available and so quite often people struggle to represent themselves in attempts to avoid incurring private costs.  This has a knock on effect that with no legal aid, knowledge or advice, the court hearings have increased in length.

So, you ask, what is being done?  The Legal Aid Practitioners Group has been formed to inform people about the areas of law that are still eligible for legal aid.

In the event that people are not eligible for legal aid, here at Forbes, tailored services are available where clients are given an estimate and pay an hourly charging rate.  Alternatively there is an alternative Divorce Family Fixed Fee service that allows clients to select as much or as little legal advice as they require to resolve their problem for a fixed price.

If you’re unsure of whether you qualify for Legal Aid, our family law solicitors can help.

 

Gill Carr

About Gill Carr

Gill Carr is an Associate Solicitor within the Family department at Forbes Solicitors. Gill’s blogs cover his specialisms of child protection, acting for both parents and children together with family members. Gill also advises and comments upon forced marriage, divorce, separation, child arrangements and financial matters. Gill writes about current legislation and case law relating to family law.

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