Since 2012 legal aid funding has been reduced by around £950m a year. This has resulted in a rise in people being forced to represent themselves in court. These people are known as litigants in person. Many find this a difficult and stressful experience.
In family law matters alone, there has been a fall of around 88% in people accessing legal aid over the last 7 years. This fall has often left parents with no choice but to represent themselves, with many feeling unable to face court to fight for their children. Litigants in person are often reported to have difficulties presenting legal arguments, understandably, as these are usually made by legally trained professionals. It is not uncommon for one party to be represented whilst the other is not, resulting in a feeling of imbalance.
For cases where Care Proceedings have been issued by the Local Authority, legal aid for parents (and anyone else with parental responsibility) remain non-means tested, and available. This means that if you require representation in Care Proceedings, you will have access to a solicitor with your legal costs covered by legal aid.
For private law proceedings, such as those regarding arrangements for children and resolution of finances after a separation, legal aid is still available in some circumstances. For cases where you require protection if you are a victim of domestic abuse, you may also be eligible for legal aid.
This article has been written by Chloe Uzell.
If you are involved in Court proceedings, it is important you get legal advice as soon as possible.
At Wolferstans, we have a team of expert family law specialists who can assess your eligibility for Legal Aid and give you a quick response. If you think we can assist you, please call us on 01752 292288 or 01752 292221.