Family Legal Aid (Public Funding)

As of the 1st April 2013 in order to qualify for Legal Aid for Children or Family matters you must prove that you are the victim of domestic violence OR you are at risk of being a victim of domestic violence or the child in question is a victim of child abuse OR is at risk of being a victim of child abuse and you are NOT the perpetrator. In addition to this you will also need to satisfy a financial criteria and this will consider your income and capital. There are some exceptions to this however which will be mentioned below.

Exceptions

  1. If you need legal advice and legal representation because Social Services have told you that they want to remove your child from your care then you will automatically qualify for Legal Aid and it will not be necessary for us to assess you.
  2. If you require protection e.g. an injunction from an ex-partner or family member because of domestic violence then you will qualify for Legal Aid automatically. However you may have to pay a contribution towards this depending on your income and capital.
  3. If you require a forced marriage protection order because you are being forced to marry against your will or you are being threatened with a forced marriage then you are automatically eligible for Legal Aid.
  4. If your child has been removed by someone without Parental Responsibility and you did not consent to them taking the child then this is Child Abduction and you will automatically be eligible for Legal Aid. If your child has been removed by someone with Parental Responsibility and you did not consent to it, it will only be Child Abduction where they remove them outside of the UK. If they have been removed to within the UK then you will need to satisfy the criteria set out below to be eligible for Legal Aid. Please note that your child must have been removed from your care to be able to obtain funding it is not enough that someone is threatening to remove your child from your care.
  5. If you are between the ages of 16 and 18 then you will qualify for public funding providing you are eligible for Legal Aid regardless of domestic violence and/or child abuse. If you are living with your parents then they will be financially assessed too. If your parents do not qualify financially then you will not qualify for Legal Aid.
  6. If you do not fall into the above categories and there is no domestic violence or child abuse then you may still be able to get Legal Aid if we regard your case as exceptional. You will however still need to be financially eligible. Whether exceptional funding is granted will depend on the importance of the issues at stake, the complexity of the procedural, legal and evidential issues and the ability of the individual to represent himself without legal assistance, having regard to his age and mental capacity. For example, if you are a father applying for an order to allow you to see your child and there are very serious allegations against you, requiring the court to have a “fact finding hearing”, this will involve difficult evidential issues requiring expert cross examination for which exceptional funding could be applied for. If we feel that your case is exceptional then we can help you apply for public funding and if you are successful we can then act for you in your family matter. There is of course no guarantee that you will be granted funding.
  7. If your case is assessed as suitable for mediation then we can deal with the matter through our Family Mediation department. Legal aid remains in place for family mediation (see our Family mediation pages for more information)

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