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Legal Aid Changes

From 1 April 2013, Legal Aid will no longer be available for certain areas of law. This means that even if you have a low income you will not be entitled to free legal help and advice for some matters.
Why is it changing?
This is part of the Government cut backs.
What areas of law are affected?

Family and matrimonial – divorce, dissolution of civil partnership and separation, financial matters, child residence and contact, cohabitation
Clinical negligence – Legal Aid will only be availalbe for claims where serious injury has occured during pregnancy, labour or the first eight weeks of life. Legal Aid will not be available for any other clinical negligence cases, but it may be possible to fund on a no win, no fee basis
Personal injury – there will be no Legal Aid available for personal injury cases but it may be possible for these to be funded on a contingency fee basis – this means that we take a fee from damages awarded if successful, but will not charge if the claim is unsucessful – no win, no fee
Employment, debt, welfare benefits and housing – these cases are also affected

Will I be able to get Legal Aid for any family law matters?
A small number of cases will still qualify for Legal Aid, in particular:

Where there has been domestic violence (subject to certain conditions)
Limited children matters including adoption, care proceedings and child abduction
If it is possible to argue that it is an exceptional case, but these are quite narrowly defined and we will need to advise on this individually

Will Atherton Godfrey still be able to help me?
We have put in place a range of fixed fees for many of the most common type of family cases and will be happy to provide more information on request. We are also offering a fixed fee first interview in which we can give you guidance on how you could conduct your own case. We would be happy to discuss all the options with you.
What if I am already recieving Legal Aid?
You can continue with the same case under the Public Funding Certificate after 1 April 2013 but it will not be possible to add a different type of matter to it, for example, if you are already recieving Legal Aid for matters relating to children, you will not be able to amend it to include financial matters unless it is within the exceptions listed above (domestic violence etc).
What should I do now?
Telephone 01302 320621 and speak to us and we will be happy to give you all the information you need about the options available and the help and support we can provide.

Get in touch today