Can I get legal aid? - Family Law

You may believe that legal aid is no longer available for family law and that consequently you cannot afford a solicitor or a barrister to advise or represent you at court. This may not be the case.

Legal aid is still available, if you are eligible, for the following areas of family law:

  • Social services involvement - in the event that social services are applying for a care order, supervision order or emergency protection order in relation to your children, legal aid is always automatically available - it may also be available to extended family members but will depend on whether they are eligible by way of their means and the strength of their case

  • Family injunctions - including non-molestation orders, occupation orders, orders under the Protection from Harassment Act and forced marriage protection orders

  • Where the person needing legal aid is a child under 18 who is a party to family proceedings

  • International and domestic child abduction - including to secure an order to prevent the unlawful removal of a child from the UK or to secure the return of a child unlawfully removed within the jurisdiction

  • Private children disputes - where you have evidence of domestic abuse or child abuse

  • Divorce and finance matters - where you have evidence of domestic abuse

Eligibility for legal aid in family proceedings

The Legal Aid Agency will take into account your eligibility for funding based on your means and the strength of your case. You can check your eligibility for legal aid in terms of your means by using the eligibility calculator.

What counts as evidence of domestic abuse or child abuse?

There is a very specific list of acceptable evidence detailed on the government website.

How to get evidence?

Legal aid is not available to help you obtain the evidence itself.

If you think you may still be eligible for legal aid, you can contact a solicitor for advice. Alternatively, you can download and print sample letters for domestic abuse or sample letters for child abuse.

This helps you get the proof you need, depending on whether:

  • You have been a victim of domestic abuse or violence
  • Your children have been victims of domestic abuse or violence

You can give the letter to the person you are asking to provide evidence. They should be able to fill in the details for you.  You should then take this evidence to a solicitor who may be able to apply for legal aid for you to be advised or represented at court.

Legal aid is also still available for:

Family mediation - to resolve disputes about children and/or finances on a relationship breakdown

Exceptional funding - you may be able to instruct a solicitor to apply for legal aid for an exceptional case, if you can show that being refused legal aid would infringe:

  • Your convention rights (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998), or
  • Any right you may have to the provision of legal services that are enforceable EU rights, or
  • That it is appropriate in the particular circumstances of your case

If you would like to speak to a member of our award winning family law team please call us on 0203 816 0548 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly to discuss your situation.

 

Information correct as of April 2019.

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