Concern grows over family courts representation
The latest Ministry of Justice figures show that in 36% of cases, people represented themselves in new private law applications between April and June 2017, up from 34% in the previous quarter. This equates to 13,039 cases, clear evidence that the lack of availability of legal aid in recent years has had a dramatic effect.
If such figures are played out across each quarter, each year, that means an astonishing number of people trying to navigate a complex legal system and appear before a court without a lawyer, at a time when they are least equipped to do so, usually feeling very vulnerable and are going through an extremely difficult time.
The issues dealt with in the family courts could not be more important for most people – their children, their home, separation, finances and long term security.
Despite concern from many involved in family law, including the Lord Chief Justice, the government shows no sign of making funding more accessible.
Matters are not made any easier by the sort of fees that some firms can charge. However, fees for good legal advice and assistance should not be excessive. The costs should be proportionate and they should be transparent. This is something that our family lawyers work hard to achieve.
Aside from an initial consultation without charge, we provide cost estimates at each step of the way and arrange monthly billing in order to spread the fees. We will always identify what steps you can take yourself as well to minimise costs further.
Family law proceedings – whether in court or not – have significant and lasting consequences for you and your family. It is essential to receive expert guidance if you are to secure a fair result and reduce the anxiety that separation issues bring. There is virtually never any going back to improve the outcome - final orders are extremely difficult and costly to appeal.
For a confidential chat with a member of our Family Team, please get in touch.