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It’s family law, but not how we knew it

Should law firms be responsible for means testing clients to establish what they can afford to pay for legal advice? Toby Hales weighs up the cost of cuts to publicly funded family law

28 March 2013

From April 1, Legal Aid for the vast majority of family disputes will come to an end. Public funding will still be available in a small minority of cases and while no exhaustive figures appear to be available, based on an estimation of my specific caseload, approximately 75 per cent of current applicants will be adversely affected.

What will the family justice system and the legal profession look like as a result, and what responsibility do solicitors have to ensure that litigants still have equal and fair access to justice?

Those clients affected are essentially going to face a three-way choice:
1.Find the money somehow

2.Represent themselves

3.Do not litigate at all

It does not require much imagination to conclude that the government would very much like a substantial number of people to choose the third option, which may in itself be of great concern. But what of those who still feel they have no option other than to litigate and wh...

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