Legal Aid is unavailable to everyone following the cuts made to the public funding system in April 2013, except in some Family Law cases.
Whilst the majority of legal matters no longer qualify under the new rules it is important to note that some areas of funding remain available to certain family law cases and as such there are some circumstances where you will qualify for legal aid funding.
In the event that you have sadly been the victim of domestic abuse in the last 5 years and can provide evidence of a protective injunction or other similar order, have resided in a refuge, if the perpetuator is currently awaiting trial for assault against you or where a local authority or other professional have raised concerns about you and your situation given the domestic abuse that has been perpetrated you may qualify for legal aid funding to assist you with Children matters such as settling matters relating to contact and residence.
You may also qualify for legal aid funding in such circumstances to commence divorce and financial relief proceedings. This would be subject to a full means assessment unless you are in receipt of certain state benefits. Our advisors will be able to explain what evidence we would need in order to establish whether you would qualify for such legal aid assistance for your case.
It is important to note that if you are the victim of immediate violence and have a disposable income of less than £733 per month and/or receive certain state benefits you would be entitled to immediate legal aid funding to obtain a protective injunction to keep you and your children safe from harm.
In the event you are a parent and Social Services have become involved with your family and have expressed concerns about the potential for harm and the risk of harm to the children in your care so as to warrant legal decisions being made as to whether they intend to remove your children from your care or in the event that they have already done so you will be automatically entitled for legal aid regardless of your income and means. Such cases remain covered by legal aid without financial assessments being required and we would simply need to have documentation relating to the concerns of the Social Services and in the event that they plan to take Court action a copy of the applications and papers they may have sent to you. Our advisors will be able to explain the process and to assist you and such advice will be covered by legal aid.
Legal aid may also be available to additional family members to care proceedings who are being independently assessed to care for the child(ren) who are subject of proceedings however this would be dependent on a full means assessment for legal aid.
It is important to note that legal aid is not always free and dependent on your income (save for care proceedings) you may be assessed to pay a monthly contribution towards your legal fees however our advisors can undertake preliminary assessments of your income to establish whether this is the case.