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Government cuts in legal aid start to bite

Since April 2013 Legal Aid has only been available in exceptional circumstances and in cases where there is domestic violence for divorce, children or financial matters.
The Government said people would instead turn to mediation, but they disregarded the fact that it was chiefly solicitors who were referring people to mediation, and explaining the advantages of it to them when doing so.
The Government also left Legal Aid in place for people who were already in mediation to get some limited legal advice.  However of 82,432 family Legal Aid claims made between April and October 2013, just 20 included Help with mediation. In the preceding 12 months solicitors had made 62,390 referrals to publically funded mediation.
Don Bird, head of the Family Department at Atherton Godfrey, said “We realise that when couples are separating or there are issues relating to children, people do not know which way to turn and need some help and guidance, but cannot always afford it.
“With this in mind, we have set up a Legal Advice Clinic at which our specialist Family Lawyers will give free legal advice – by appointment only.”
For more information or to arrange an appointment please call 01302 320621.

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