Judge Criticises Legal Aid Cuts

A senior Judge has criticised the Government’s sweeping cuts to legal aid in the family courts, and has said that they may be no other option in some cases than for the court to finance legal teams.

Sir James Munby made the comments in a recent judgement; Q v Q; Re B (A Child); Re C (A Child) [2014] EWFC 31. All three cases were proceedings in the Family Court concerning children, and in all three cases the father did not qualify for legal aid but could not afford their own representation. Munby said it was not just in the fathers’ interests, but also the children’s, that the matter was investigated properly. He said an inability to do so because of a withdrawal of funding could be in conflict with the fathers’ right to a fair trial, and right to a family life. He said that if Legal Aid Agency declined to give the father’s exceptional funding, he would authorise the court to bear the costs. He asked that the Ministry of Justice consider the matter carefully.

At Emery Johnson Astills we have an experienced team who can help with all aspects of family law. We will advise you if you are eligible for legal aid, and if not, offer a range of funding options to help you manage the cost, details of which can be found here.  Call Emery Johnson Astills today for simple straight forward advice.