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Legal Aid Changes from 1st April 201315th Mar 2013

by on 15th Mar 2013


EmmaAs from 1st April 2013 Legal Aid will not be available for private family cases for separating couples to deal with issues concerning divorce, their children or finances, irrespective of their financial circumstances except for certain cases that involve domestic violence and also for public law child care cases. The reason for this is government cutbacks. If you thought you may be entitled to Legal Aid you may be surprised to know that whatever your level of income you will still not get Legal Aid in the majority of all cases from the cut off date that will very soon be upon us.

If you are in receipt of  Legal Aid already it will continue after the 1st April 2013. However, if you lose your legal aid for any other reason, for example, if your financial circumstances change, or if your certificate is cancelled or if your case concludes  you will not be able to receive Legal Aid again.

If you are in Mediation you will not receive Legal Aid to go to court after the cut off date on the 1st April 2013.

If you are considering applying for legal aid in a family matter, it is recommended that you do so without delay and before the legal aid reform takes place on the 1st April 2013. Please contact our legal aid specialists Lindsey Arnold or Julie Keogh for further information without delay. This is a general warning to all our Legal Aid clients to contact one of our experts as a matter of urgency if in doubt as to their position.

As from 1st April 2013 Legal Aid may be available to deal with family protection, children or finances if there is an established domestic violence element but only if you satisfy certain criteria which can be discussed with you.

Anyone wishing to apply for Legal Aid between now and the cut off date will need to arrange an urgent appointment with Lindsey or Julie on or before the 22nd March 2013 and will also have a responsibility to provide supporting documents to enable their applications to be assessed to see if they are financially eligible for Legal Aid. You will be advised of the documents that you will need to produce and the deadline to provide them.

Coles Miller cannot guarantee that Legal Aid certificates will be issued to clients now even if they may be eligible on financial assessment and on merit. Also we are unfortunately not taking on any new Legal Aid clients between now and the cut off date.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.