We have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency ( 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 initial 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 injunction .
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 Aid Agency on two points.
Firstly the Legal Aid Agency 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 Aid Agency have to be satisfied that you are financially eligible.
Financial eligibility 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 Aid Agency, you may have to pay a contribution towards your publicly funded certificate . If you are assessed as being liable to pay such a contribution the Legal Aid Agency 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 contribution.
Please also note that in certain cases where money or property is in dispute and you "recover or preserve" property as a result of publicly funded work done on your behalf the Legal Aid Agency has the right to recover the publicly funded costs of all the family related work that has been incurred from any property that has been recovered or preserved. This is called the Statutory Charge . In such circumstances legal help / legal aid should be regarded as a loan that you may have to pay back . We will provide you with further information about the Statutory Charge if your case is one where it may apply.
If you are a parent involved in care or supervision 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 .
15-16 Deptford Broadway London
SE8 4PA Telephone: 020 8694 6498 Emergency Domestic Violence Helpline: 07976 304796