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Legal Aid FAQs
Does legal aid still exist?
Yes. However since April 2013 legal aid has been restricted, and is now only available in certain circumstances.
What areas of family law does legal aid cover?
Legal aid can in theory be applied for in all types of family law cases. However as well as being financially eligible (see below) there has to be evidence of either domestic abuse or a child protection issue.
What about legal aid for mediation ?
If you or your partner want to engage in mediation to resolve your family difficulties then legal aid to provide help and support through mediation is available.
How do I know if I am financially eligible?
Our family solicitors can assess you to see if you are financially eligible. You will need to provide proof of your income and outgoings, for example wage slips, benefits letter, proof of rent / mortgage paid and bank statements. Before your appointment with our family solicitor you could also check whether you are financially eligible by using the eligibility calculator.
What is evidence of domestic abuse ?
The following are accepted evidence of domestic abuse:
- The other party has an Unspent conviction for a domestic violence offence against you
- The other party has a Police Caution for a domestic violence offence against you
- There are ongoing Criminal Proceedings relating to a domestic violence offence against the other party against you
- There is a Protective Injunction in place to protect you from the other party
- The other party has given an Undertaking to ensure your protection.
- The other party is on police bail for a domestic violence offence against you
- There has been a Multi- Agency Risk Conference (MARAC) to ensure your protection from the other party
- There has been a Finding of Fact in a family Court and findings of domestic violence towards you have been made against the other party.
- You have a letter from a Health Professional or Social Services to support that you have been assessed as a victim of domestic violence
- You have a letter from a Domestic violence support organisation confirming admission to a refuge letter or a letter confirming refusal of admission to a refuge due to lack of accommodation
- You have a letter from a Health professional confirming a referral to a domestic violence support service
- You have a Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN) or Domestic Violence Protection (DVPO) order to protect you from the other party
What is evidence of child protection issues ?
The following are accepted as evidence of child protection issues:
- the other party has been convicted of a child abuse offence
- the other party has been cautioned for a child abuse offence with the last 24 month period
- the other party is subject to ongoing criminal proceedings for a child abuse offence
- you have had to apply for a protective injunction against the other party within the last 24 months, and it was granted
- there have been findings made in a finding of fact hearing within the last 24 months against the other party that there was abuse of your child
- letter from social services within the last 24 month period stating that your child was assessed as being or at risk of being a victim of child abuse
- letter from social services confirming that a child protection plan was put into place within the previous 24 month period to protect your child from abuse or the risk of abuse from the other party, or a copy of the actual plan
- you have made an application for a protective injunction with an application for a prohibited steps order to seek to protect the child from the other party. Both applications must remain undetermined by the Court on the date that the legal aid application is made.
- evidence that the other party is on police bail for a child abuse offence.
Can you help me obtain the evidence I need to qualify for legal aid?
Yes we can. We will either guide you in the right direction so that you can obtain the evidence yourself or we will obtain the evidence for you for a fixed fee.
Do all areas of family cases require this evidence?
No. Public law proceedings, where the local authority has issued court proceedings in respect of your children, and protection from domestic abuse cases do not require the additional evidence.
What if I do not qualify for legal aid?
We will provide you with a full costs breakdown, discuss a “ceiling figure” if necessary that we will not exceed without discussing it with you further and discuss payment options.