Legal Aid in Family Law Matters

New Legal Aid Certificates

As a result of reforms to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) from 1st April 2013 the availability of Legal Aid for family matters to include divorce, children matters (contact and Residence) and financial disputes between spouses and unmarried couples will be affected.

Legal Aid will be limited to cases involving issues of Child Protection or where evidence can be produced that there has been domestic violence within the relationship.

Clients who are eligible for Public funded legal services will only be able to receive legal aid for the following:-

–          Public family law regarding protection of children (care proceedings)

–          Private family law with evidence of child abuse

–          Child abduction

–          Representation of children in private family cases

–          Legal Advice in support of mediation

–          Domestic violence injunction cases

–          Forced marriage protection orders

Legal Aid is tested on the merits of the case together with the individual’s financial eligibility.

If you are unsure whether you would be financially eligible for Legal Aid you are able to complete a financial means test on our website to establish your eligibility.

An application for Legal Aid can be a lengthy process and therefore if you believe that you may be eligible for Legal Aid contact a member of our family law team without delay.

Clients with an existing Legal Aid Certificate

Legal Aid Certificates which have already granted will continue to fund the Client’s case and will not be affected by the above changes.

Clients should however, be aware that they continue to have a duty to advise the Legal Services Commission of any change in their financial circumstances.  As of 1st April 2013 if a Client’s financial circumstances change and they are assessed as financially being ineligible they will not be able to get their Legal Aid back in the existing matter in the event that their financial circumstances worsen again.