We have a contract with the Legal Services Commission ( the organisation set up by the government to administer legal aid) which means we are able to offer " legal help" and " legal aid " in family cases subject to eligibility .
"Legal help" covers intial legal advice and assistance (for example in obtaining an undefended divorce or in trying to negotiate contact arrangements on an amicable basis) but not representation in contested court proceedings .
"Legal aid" covers representation in contested court proceedings where it has not been possible to resolve matters through negotiation or, for example, if you need an urgent injuntion .
When you first contact us we will assess whether you are likely to be eligible for legal help / legal aid.
It is important to understand that in order to qualify for legal aid you have to satisfy the Legal Services Commission on two points.
Firstly the Legal Services Commission have to be satisfied that you have a case that is worth taking or defending (this is called the merits test).
Secondly and subject to passing the merits test the Legal Services Commission have to be satisfied that you are financially eligilble .
Financial eligibity will depend on the income and / or savings of yourself and your spouse or partner (unless of course it is against them that you are taking the case / seeking advice) . If either your income or savings is too high, you will be refused public funding.
Even if you are financially eligible but your income or savings is above a certain level, as determined by the Legal Services Commission, you may have to pay a contribution towards your publicly funded certificate . If you are assessed as being liable to pay such a contibution the Legal Services Commission will write to you when they offer you legal aid and tell you how much the contribution will be. The contribution will be a monthly payment for as long as the case lasts. In the case of savings, you will be asked to make a single payment.If your income and savings are low or if you are in receipt of income support, income based job seekers allowance or guaranteed pension credit you should not have to make a financial contibution.
If you are a parent involved in care or supervison proceedings issued by Social Services you will be entitled to non means tested non merits tested legal aid .
Should you wish to instruct us but not qualify for public funding you will have to do so on a private basis.We will be happy to provide you with further information as to our fees, which are very competitive, on request.
Because your case is important to you, it is important that you have confidence in the solicitor you instruct . We therefore also offer a free 20 minute no obligation initial consultation - please contact us for further details . e