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The shocking effects of the cuts to Legal Aid are becoming more and more apparent. It is clear that the cuts are denying vulnerable parties the access to legal representation and they need.
In a recent case, Judge Louise Hallam has stated that a woman has not been given a fair trial as she was not able to obtain public funding in a matter involving the custody of her children. The woman in question was an illiterate mother of four, with poor sight and hearing and she was forced to represent herself in a Court.
Recent figures show that following the cuts the majority of parents in Children Act proceedings are unrepresented. Following the first 9 months after the cuts were implemented in April 2013, nearly 6 out of 10 parents involved in cases regarding their children were unrepresented.
Obtaining Legal Aid is becoming increasingly difficult. As well as being financially eligible, Applicants have to prove that they have been victims of domestic violence. Even if Applicants have been subject to domestic violence, their word is not enough, they must provide evidence to prove it.
The letter must be; on letter headed paper, name you as a victim of domestic violence, state that you were seen by the health professional within the last 2 years and state that you had injuries or a condition from domestic violence caused by your ex-partner.
At Ramsdens we are proud to be a firm that is appointed by the Legal Aid Agency to provide Legal Aid to our clients within family matters.
In light of the cuts, it is clear that unfortunately, many people will not qualify for Legal Aid. If you do not qualify for Legal Aid but you are unable to meet the cost of your legal fees and you would have been eligible financially but you do not have the requisite evidence for domestic violence, please contact us to discuss alternatives such as reduced fees.
We continue to offer a free thirty minute appointment with a family law Solicitor and this is available across all of our ten offices in West Yorkshire. We provide advice without obligation and it allows you to make the decision that is right for you.
Our specialist family solicitors are accredited members of the Law Society Children Panel, so you can be assured that your children’s best interests are at the heart of our work.