As of 1st April 2013 due to a change in the law as one of the current cutbacks most family cases are no longer covered by legal aid.
Legal aid is still available for care cases (those involving social services bringing proceedings to place a child in care) and we continue to offer a specialist service in such proceedings.
However, for many other family cases where legal aid would have been available previously this is no longer so.
Legal aid is still available for:-
- Applications for non-molestation orders (personal protection injunctions)
- Certain applications in relation to child abduction
Legal aid may be available for those who have been the victim of domestic violence but only if the following evidence is available:-
- Relevant unspent conviction for a domestic violence offence
- Relevant police caution for domestic violence within the last 24 months
- Evidence of ongoing criminal proceedings for a domestic violence offence
- Protective injunction having been made within the last 24 months or undertaking given
- Letter from a MARAC confirming you have been assessed as at high risk of domestic violence
- Copy of a finding of fact made by the court
- Letter from a health professional confirming an injury caused by domestic violence within the last 24 months
- Letter from a social services department indicating you have been assessed as being at risk of domestic violence within last 24 months
- Proof of having been admitted to a refuge for at least 24 hours in last 24 months.
Legal aid may be available for children proceedings where brought to protect children but only where there is evidence of one of the following :-
- An unspent conviction for child abuse offence
- Police caution for child abuse offence within the last 24 months
- Evidence of relevant ongoing criminal proceedings for a child abuse offence
- A relevant protective injunction within the last 24 months
- A copy of a finding of fact made by a court
- A letter from social services confirming the child was assessed as being at risk or that there was a child protection plan in force
- An application for a protective injunction which has not yet been determined
The Legal Aid Agency requires the client to obtain such evidence before any work at all by the solicitor is covered.
We do not have any discretion to accept any other kind of evidence not on the list.
The new rules are undoubtedly going to mean there are many people who would previously have been helped by legal aid will struggle to access legal advice even regrettably some of those most in need.
We continue to offer a full range of family law services at competitive rates and legal aid in circumstances where it is still available