It has recently been reported in several legal journals the difficulties that victims of Domestic Violence are experiencing in accessing Legal Aid to assist with funding their cases at Court, despite the fact it should still be available: http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed120427
Indeed the Legal Services Commission have provided solicitors with a checklist to use when assessing from the outset, whether a new client would be granted Legal Aid in order to cover the legal fees for representing them at Court. A client will be eligible to receive funding if for example the oppenent has a relevant conviction for domestic violence or has received a police caution within the last 2 years for domestic violence. Evidence can also include a letter from a health professional stating that the victim has injuries or a condition which are consistent with those of a victim of domestic violence.
There are several other examples on the checklist that can be used to prove eligibility to receive funding and it is vital legal advice is sought to see if you qualify.
At Susan Howarth & Co Solicitors, we offer several free out of hours drop in clinics during the week and also fixed-fee half hour initial appointments, which can be used to assess clients who are victims of domestic violence and also to advise those of the options available in the event they do not qualify for funding.
In order to assist those who do not qualify for funding, we can provide a range of different private fee-paying options from fixed fees to monthly payment plans.
For those that wish to issue a divorce themselves, we also offer DIY divorce sessions, which is a step by step guide as to how to complete your own divorce.
For further details on Legal Aid and other packages that we offer as well as advice on domestic violence and other legal family matters such as divorce and children, please contact our offices on 01606 48777.