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Adjusting your business to your clients’ financial constraints

With clients hit by legal aid cuts and the ongoing economic uncertainties, family lawyers are forced to re-invent their payment models, says Sarah Turnbull

5 March 2014

Working in the family department of a small firm I have seen first-hand the impact on private practice of the family legal aid changes introduced in April 2013.

Clients who are unemployed simply cannot finance contested contact proceedings privately, yet they also feel unable to adequately represent themselves at court hearings. Their primary concern is the welfare of their child, yet they feel that they are financially limited in what they can to protect their child's interests. I have sadly seen parents who have abandoned court proceedings for contact with their child because the other party has made spurious allegations against them, and to continue to pursue the matter through the courts will involve significant cost, stress and anxiety to all concerned. We try to encourage clients as much as possible and be as flexible as we can on costs to avoid this situation arising.

Where a party is unable to obtain legal representation then they are often inadequately p...

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