Legal aid

_MG_5168Legal Aid is an important part of the welfare state as it allows access to the justice system to those who would not otherwise be able to afford to. 

We are committed to providing a Legally Aided Service. 

Legal Aid for Family Mediation

For Family Mediation, our contract with the Contracted with the Legal Aid Agency (The successor to the Legal Services Commission), allows us to provide legally aided mediation in;

  • Exeter
  • Honiton
  • Taunton
  • Cullumpton
  • Exmouth

The availability of legal aid is subject to a means test. Please see the section on financial eligibility below.

Legal Aid for Family Law

We are contracted  with the Legal Aid Agency to provide family law services  from our office in Honiton

Legal Aid for Cases with Social Services

If Social Services are taking you to Court or have written you a letter saying that they are going to start Court Proceedings then Legal Aid is not subject to a means test. Being able to get free legal aid depends upon either the start of the Court Proceedings or having the social services letter. For

Evidence of Domestic Abuse

For non-social services cases the legal aid agency will not allow legal aid unless there is the correct evidence of domestic abuse or a risk to a child.

Follow the link here to find out exactly what evidence you need to get http://www.justice.gov.uk/private-family-matters-legal-aid/victims-domestic-violence

This link will take you to templates of letters of evidence that will be needed http://www.justice.gov.uk/private-family-matters-legal-aid

Check your financial eligibility for mediation or legal advice (non-social services cases)

Firstly you may find it helpful to check your eligibility. Below is a link to the Legal Aid part of the Government website. You need to follow the links about checking your clients eligibility and you will be directed to an online calculator.

http://www.justice.gov.uk/legal-aid 

When you come to see us, you must bring up to date evidence of your means.

We will tell you what to bring. You are not Legally Aided until the relevant forms are completed and up to date evidence supplied. By up to date we generally mean the most recent month.

The legal aid rules about financial eligibility are detailed. We have reproduced below the abbreviated guidance form and the page from one of the initial legal aid forms to assist you to carry out your own calculation. You will see that all income is included for the last calendar month for you and your partner (unless your partner is the person who would be the other party if there were to be a court case). Deductions from income are limited to housing costs, set allowances for each child, having a dependent partner and also being employed and any maintenance paid.

The rules about mortgages are also not straightforward. One thing to remember is that only the first £100,000 of a mortgage is taken into account when working out what savings/assets and applicant for legal aid has. Being eligible for legal aid on the basis of income does not mean that you will be eligible for legal aid on the basis of capital/savings.

Below is a link to the legal aid agency legal aid key card which we use for assessing eligibility for the initial level of legal aid.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/528095/eligibility-keycard.pdf

Below is the calculation page of one of the legal aid forms that we use.

Means 7 Page 4 Legal Aid Means Calculation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you do not bring the up to date evidence with you, we will either cancel the meeting or make a charge for our time, unless there is a genuine emergency.

The problem that we have is, that unless we have all forms filled out properly with supporting evidence, we will not be paid for the work we do.