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Confused messages are to blame for families’ lack of legal aid support

Separating couples need to know that legal aid is still available in the form of ADR and mediation, says Simon Dakers

20 March 2014

Despite the number of grey areas on what legal aid clients are and are not entitled to as I discussed last month in Solicitors Journal, the following areas of family law do remain within the scope of legal aid:

• Public family law regarding protection of children i.e. social services involvement;

• Private family law, i.e. divorce, arrangements concerning children, where there is evidence of domestic violence;

• Private law children, i.e. residence and contact cases where there is evidence of child abuse/risk;

• Child abduction matters;

• Legal advice in support of mediation;

• Domestic violence injunctions;

• Forced marriage protection orders.

In all other circumstances, evidence to show domestic abuse must be provided before legal aid can be granted, such as a letter or written communication from an authority. This however, is often difficult to obtain as the wording of any letter must meet the requirement...

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