All too often people do not seek expert legal advice because they fear the costs of doing so. There are a number of options available. Many people have legal cover on their home insurance policies which will assist. There are litigation loan companies that assist – subject to the circumstances of the case. Additionally Farleys’ Family Team offer a range of options which can be tailored to the client’s individual case.
It is now some time since Civil Legal Aid was withdrawn from almost all Family Law proceedings. Since that time the courts have struggled with an influx of Litigants in person and how to guide such people through the often complex process of Family Law proceedings.
That may be about to change …but don’t get too hopeful – those cases where funding may be available will be limited; the Bach commission was set up to report on its recommendations following research into the current system of funding – or lack of it!
The Commission recommends bringing a range of family law cases back into civil legal aid.
Commission advocates a new Right to Justice Act. In respect of family law, the Commission recommends:
The government restores legal aid for early legal help to pre-LASPO levels for all social welfare law and family law.
All matters concerning legal support for children should be brought back within the scope of civil legal aid.
Family law cases with the following characteristics should brought back into the scope of civil legal aid, with respect to representation in court:
a) representation in particularly sensitive areas of private family law (such as cases in which the primary care of a child is in dispute)
b) cases involving an application to remove a child from the jurisdiction
c) cases where there is local authority involvement in private law children proceedings
d) cases in which an allegation is made which is so serious it would be unjust not to provide legal representation to defend it
e) cases where the question of whether a child should have any contact with a parent or grandparent is in dispute
f) cases where a court determines expertise is necessary to decide a family case in the best interests of the child, but where the non-legally aided party is not in a position to pay a contribution towards that expertise.
The exceptional case funding scheme has manifestly failed, and needs urgent review and reform.
The proposed Right to Justice Act will:
Codify our existing rights to justice and establish a new right for individuals to receive reasonable legal assistance without costs they cannot afford
Establish a set of principles that guide interpretation of this new right
Establish a new body called the Justice Commission to monitor and enforce this new right.
To make the act a reality, the commission also sets out an immediate action plan for the government to: widen the scope of legal aid, with a focus on early legal help; reform the eligibility requirements for legal aid; replace the Legal Aid Agency with an independent body; and improve the public’s understanding of the law.
So don’t hold your breath, changes may come about but they will not be soon. Speak to your Lawyer about making your advice affordable – or setting up a payment plan to pay for your legal costs as you go along, or whether a fixed price can be agreed. At Farleys’ Family Law Team we offer a range of payment plans and options to ensure our fees are affordable for an ordinary person. To speak to a family law solicitor please call 0845 287 0939 or contact us online.
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