In April 2013 there was a substantial change in the entitlement to Legal Aid, meaning many people who were eligible for Legal Aid prior to April 2013 are no longer eligible.
Since April 2013 for representation in a private (not care proceedings) case the Applicant for Legal Aid must be a victim of domestic abuse from the opponent in the case.
In order to satisfy the Legal Aid Agency that you are a victim of domestic abuse you must provide one of the following pieces of information:
In addition, for children matters there is other criteria that can be met to assist:
If you satisfy the above criteria to show that you a victim of domestic abuse or that your child is at risk, you then still then need to satisfy the Legal Aid agency two-stage as to whether you will be entitled to Legal Aid funding for your case, the first stage is to see whether you are financial eligible for Legal Aid.
Persons who are in receipt of certain benefits namely Universal Credit, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance and Pension Credit are automatically entitled to Legal Aid subject to the capital they have. If you are not in receipt of these benefits, then only persons on a low income are entitled to funding and you are referred to the link below to complete as to whether you are financially eligible for Legal Aid funding.
If you have capital under £3,000 you will be eligible for Legal Aid if your income so allows. If your capital is between £3,000 and £8,000 you will be required to make a contribution equivalent to the difference between £3,000 and £8,000 for the cost of your case, the overall cost would be limited to your actual time spent on your case. If you have capital over £8,000 you will not be entitled to Legal Aid, irrespective of how much you earn or benefits you receive.
The final test to apply is one of the merits of your case, as only a case that the Legal Aid Agency consider is worthy and highly probable of success will receive Legal Aid. We would therefore need to advise on the merits of your case as to whether it is felt there is a need for Legal Aid funding. In cases where your opponent is the perpetrator of domestic violence and is seeking unreasonable orders with the Court, this would be a matter where you would be entitled to funding. There is further guidance on gov.uk regarding Legal Aid however this page does represent a brief overview on the requirements of the Legal Aid process.
One final point we wish to make clear to all clients is that it is vital you comply with all requirements of the Legal Aid agency for provision of financial information. Otherwise your Legal Aid can be stopped at any time, and in some cases the Legal Aid Agency seek the funds of your Legal Aid Certificate from you.