Family Legal Aid - Eligibility After 01.04.2013
The availability of legal aid for cases involving family law altered dramatically from 01.04.13
AVAILABILITY OF LEGAL AID
Legal aid is now only available:-
Cases involving children being taken into care. There remains limited legal aid to take independent advice during and after mediation.Legal aid is only available for representation at court on relationship breakdown where there has been proven domestic abuse (see below).
Legal aid continues to be available on a non-means tested basis for cases potentially involving children being taken into care - known as "public law".
All other forms of legal aid are means tested:
Capital: Applicants must have capital below £8,000.00 - there are complex rules about equity in family homes - which are partly exempt where they form part of the issue in dispute.
Income: Applicants must be in receipt of a low income - and for certain types of legal aid may have to make a monthly contribution from income. Various fixed deductions are allowed from gross income - for example the numbers of dependants. The calculation is complex - you can do this on line at www.justice.gov.uk/legal-aid.
All financial data must be supported by documentary evidence - without which you will not be eligible - see attached sheet.
Domestic violence [D.V] is the "key" to securing full legal aid for representation
in court proceedings to secure divorces, orders concerning children or financial
Domestic violence is widely defined to include - physical violence, threats of
violence, or other "abuse" including financial, emotional or physical.
The domestic violence must be evidenced. Suitable evidence includes:
- Police caution for DV or unspent criminal conviction.
- Current criminal prosecution of the perpetrator - not concluded.
- Letter or report from a doctor, nurse confirming that they have examined the victim and had injuries or a condition consistent with domestic violence.
- Letter from Social Services confirming that the victim has been assessed as at risk of D.V.
- Admission to a refuge for at least twenty four hours.
This evidence is not required in cases involving applications for Injunctions.
Legal aid will not pay any fees for Medical Reports - but a pro forma of a suitable letter to assist your medical adviser is attached.
CHECKLIST OF EVIDENCE REQUIRED TO APPLY FOR LEGAL AID
Evidence of Domestic Abuse [see above] if Legal Aid is required for matters other than obtaining an injunction
Capital Current bank/building society statement to verify investments.
Mortgage statement to verify balance outstanding upon any mortgage.
Income Wage slips for the last month or five weeks [if paid weekly]
Most recent Tax Credit award letter, if you are in receipt of this benefit.
Letter dated within the last month confirming payment of any other state benefit (for example JSA/ESA/UC)
Documentary evidence to verify any other Income [for example child support].
Housing Costs If you are in rented accommodation - a copy of your Tenancy Agreement.
If you are in owner occupied accommodation and pay the mortgage evidence to show the monthly mortgage payment.
Employment Law- Fixed Fees
INITIAL FREE HALF HOUR APPOINTMENT
This includes:- Attending you for a preliminary appointment to see whether you have a case or can defend a case. Please note that this is for 30 minutes only and does not include advice in writing.
We are able to offer fixed fees to both claimants and respondents in relation to Employment Tribunal claims. Please contact us for specialist advice and further details.