08th January 2013
Cartwright King advice on Legal Aid cuts
Later this year as a result of Government cuts, legal aid will no longer be available for divorce and family law cases except where a family has suffered domestic violence or child abuse.
Legal aid helps those who meet certain criteria pay for the cost of a solicitor. But in April 2013, support will be withdrawn for most family case types, including divorce, issues arising out of child residence and contact, and financial problems stemming from separation.
Head of the family department at leading law firm Cartwright King says,
“Guidance has not yet been issued by the Government on the phasing in of the changes but legal aid applications can be complex and quite time-consuming, so the three month period between now and the changes may not be long enough for this kind of application to be completed. However, if legal aid has already been granted prior to the changes, it will continue beyond April 2013.”
Those who are claiming there are domestic violence or child abuse issues, to ensure that they have evidence of such history. It will therefore be necessary to report such matters to the police, GP or other suitable agency to record the distress they are suffering or injuries received. Alternatively they need to be able to produce a relevant injunction order to support their position.
Cartwright King has introduced a fixed fee structure for family and divorce work to compensate for the loss of legal aid.
“Our experienced team can assess the likely outcome of a case and discuss with clients the sensible level of costs to ensure there are no surprises.”
“In such difficult financial times, families need all the support they can get, and at Cartwright King we are dedicated to finding new and innovative ways to offer advice that suits each client’s individual needs and circumstances.”
It is important to note that legal aid is not free to those claiming in relation to financial issues because the legal costs in most cases will need to be repaid when a settlement is recovered by your solicitor.