The End of Legal Aid?

March 2013

Did you know that from 1st April 2013, there will be dramatic cuts to the availability of Legal Aid in a wide variety of family law situations? This will affect many people but Brain Chase Coles Solicitors will be offering alternative funding solutions tailored to suit your needs.

What are the changes?

As part of the reductions in Government spending, legal aid will no longer be available to the majority of family law clients. Until now, many clients on a low income have been entitled to financial help to fund divorce proceedings, disputes between parents or other family members about children and proceedings about property or finances. From 1st April 2013, most of this public funding will no longer be available.

Will there be any legal aid for family cases?

There will be some legal aid available in three specific circumstances and Brain Chase Coles Solicitors will still offer legal aid to those clients who qualify.

If you are a parent or close family member of a child about whom the Local Authority has started Court Proceedings, it is likely that you will be entitled to legal aid.

You may also be entitled to financial assistance for legal advice if you have suffered domestic abuse. There will be a strict requirement for evidence from another agency before we can consider whether you qualify and you will also need to pass the test for financial eligibility.

There will still be Legal Aid available for mediation or for some legal advice in support of mediation, as long as you pass the financial eligibility criteria.

There is no legal aid for me – what are my options?

  1. We are delighted to be able to continue to offer a very competitively priced single consultation with one of our family solicitors. As part of this meeting, we will outline all of your funding options.

    We understand that legal advice and professional support is very important to many people who are experiencing difficult family situations but that many people believe that they cannot afford a solicitor throughout the whole legal process.

    Brain Chase Coles Solicitors will be introducing a new range of funding solutions from April 2013 and you will be able to select the level of support that you require and can afford. These options will range from packages where we provide you with initial advice, the documents that you require for straightforward court applications and reference material through to full representation with our ongoing advice and attendance at court hearings with you. We will be pleased to discuss your individual needs and will also be offering tailored packages of advice and support based on your specific requirements.

  2. As part of Brain Chase Coles, Haymarket Family Mediation offers mediation services to those who are going through divorce or relationship breakdown and need to sort out issues about children and/or finances. This can result in agreement being reached far more quickly and easily than through Court proceedings. This inevitably reduces costs but in addition, we can still offer Legal Aid to those who are financially eligible so it may be that there will be no cost for the service to than individual.

Who should I contact for more information?

If you would like more information or would like to discuss your particular requirements, please contact our Family Law Team on 01256 354481 or the Mediation Team on 01256 350012. We understand that many people will have questions about these changes and we will be pleased to help.

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