Legal Aid and You

In 2013 changes were made to the eligibility for Legal Aid in family law. This has given rise to a myth that legal aid is no longer available for family matters. Legal Aid is in fact still available depending on the type of family law matter and subject to meeting the Legal Aid Agency’s eligibility criteria.

At Leadenhall Law Group, we have experienced solicitors who can help in all types of family law. We offer an initial free, 30-minute consultation which can include an assessment for Legal Aid eligibility.

The eligibility criteria for Legal Aid depends on the nature of your matter and the type of family law. For your assistance we set out below the types of family law and the Legal Aid criteria.

Care Proceedings

When the Local Authority makes an application to Court for a care order the parents or any other party with parental responsibility are entitled to Legal Aid regardless of their financial means or the merits in the case.

Domestic Abuse

Parties who are either seeking a Non-Molestation Order or an Occupation Order are entitled to legal aid subject to meeting the Legal Aid Agency’s financial criteria and merits criteria. The financial assessment will require provision of financial evidence including 3 months bank statements, wage slips and evidence of any benefits received. The merits assessment requires details of why the orders are being sought and confirmation that there is a reasonable prospect of the application being successful.

Child Arrangement Orders

Child Arrangement Orders where previously known as contact and residence orders. These are proceedings where you are making a Court application against the other parent. In these proceedings Legal Aid is still available in limited circumstances. The only two circumstances in which legal aid is available to a parent is when either:

  1. They have been the victim of domestic abuse perpetrated by the other party
  2. The Child is either at risk of suffering or has suffered significant harm perpetrated by the other party.

The Legal Aid Agency requires specific evidence to be satisfied that these circumstances are met. In addition the party seeking Legal Aid will also need to satisfy the both the financial criteria and merits criteria.

Divorce/ Matrimonial Finances

Limited Legal Aid is available for divorce and financial matters subject to the same assessment criteria as for Child Arrangement Orders.

At Leadenhall Law Group we are able to offer assistance in the full range of family issues and please do not hesitate to contact us with any enquiries on either 01603 904909 or fionafaulds@leadenhalllawgroup.co.uk