Much is being said and written in the media about the outcome of the Family Justice Review. However there is a greater problem on the horizon for parents who fall into disputes about their children which they are unable to resolve between themselves. That is that come October 2012 if the government are successful in their plans, there is to be a dramatic cut in the funding available to parents under the current Legal Aid schemes.
Legal Aid has for many years helped and supported countless children and their families resolve potentially damaging disputes by giving their parents access to experienced family lawyers. This time next year, parents will not be able to have that legal advice or representation unless they can afford to pay for it. Legal Aid will be gone except in very limited situations meaning that some parents will find themselves having to face difficult situations unrepresented and possibly against a former partner who has been able to pay for a specialist lawyer.
This is a huge change to the current position and puts the fundamental right of access for children to justice at risk.
Parents are urged to join the campaign to save legal aid.
If you would like to help to support the campaign please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us with your views. Please let us know how you would feel and how it might affect you if you were not able to have the help and support from a solicitor specialising in family problems because Legal Aid was not available.
You might also want to support The Law Society’s own campaign to protect Legal Aid by including your name on a national petition. This is called the Sound Off For Justice Campaign. Signing the petition could not be easier, simply log onto www.soundoffforjustice.org and add your name.
By family law solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Mandy Rimmer