Highlighting the effects of the withdrawal of Family Legal Aid
27 February 2013 by Simon Osborn
1st April will see radical changes in Legal Aid, which will result in public funding no longer being available in many areas of family law warns Simon Osborn (pictured), head of the family team at QualitySolicitors FJG.
As from 1st April 2013, Legal Aid will no longer be available to enable separating couples to obtain legal advice in connection with divorce, making arrangements for their children, or in connection with financial matters, except in limited circumstances in which Legal Aid may be still be available for victims of domestic abuse.
We are very concerned that whilst there has been widespread publicity about the changes to welfare benefits as a result of the Government’s desire to reduce expenditure, there has been very little publicity about the changes to Legal Aid. These changes will have a very significant impact on the lives of many couples who are separating and on their children.
At QualitySolicitors FJG, we are committed to helping clients resolve disputes by agreement where possible and we offer mediation and collaborative family law as an alternative to going to Court. Many of our clients’ cases are settled through negotiation. However, not all cases are suitable for settlement through mediation or negotiation and there is widespread concern that there will be a significant number of famililies for whom the impact of Legal Aid no longer being available will result in much less satisfactory outcomes for them and their children.
As it takes time for an application for Legal Aid to be processed, we are recommending that anyone who believes that they may require Legal Aid should contact their solicitor without delay.
In the limited circumstances where Legal Aid will still be available for victims of domestic abuse, in care proceedings and for mediation services. QualitySolicitors FJG has been awarded a contract to provide Legal Aid from 1 April 2013 in these instances.
At QualitySolicitors FJG we are recommended for our family services with the highest ranking in prestigious legal directories, the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. We have one of the largest and most experienced family teams in Essex available from our six offices based in Colchester, Chelmsford, Billericay, Clacton and Fleet Street in Central London. Whilst we represent our family clients in complex financial and children disputes, we also remain committed to representing those who are most vulnerable in society where Legal Aid remains available.
For more information on any of the issues mentioned, or any other family law queries, visit the QualitySolicitors FJG family web pages here, email us on [email protected] or telephone us on 0845 543 5700 to make an appointment.