The Government provides funding for Legal Aid to help people:
(a) protect their basic rights and get a fair hearing;
(b) access the court process to sort out disputes;
(c) solve problems that contribute to social exclusion.
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) runs the Legal Aid scheme in England and Wales. The LAA fund us to:-
a) Advise people on their legal problems (such as family breakdown);
b) Help people understand their rights and the law;
c) Advise people detained in police stations; and,
d) if necessary represent people in court.
People experiencing social problems often need legal advice in areas such as family issues, relationship breakdown and domestic violence.
Most usually this will be in matters involving divorce and other relationship breakdown including children and financial issues.
Legal Aid can fund:-
(a) Initial advice and assistance;
(b) Help and advice on family disputes;
(c) Legal representation in court proceedings.
The LAA award Legal Aid to those who meet certain conditions, namely:-
(i) Financial means (financial eligibility test look at client's income and capital);
(ii) Legal merits test laid down by Parliament;
We are empowered by the LAA in certain circumstances to grant legal aid ourselves to clients immediately.
You may still be able to get Legal aid in the following circumstances:
If you are in dispute with social services about your children, for example if social services are trying to remove your children from your home and you wish to contest this.
1. For victims of domestic violence
2. In cases of international child abduction, where your partner is trying to take your child out of the UK, or
has already done so
3. If your child is being taken into care by social services.
4. For divorce, financial issues and disputes concerning children
In respect of Legal Aid for such matters it is available where evidence can be provided of domestic abuse and is dependent on certain income and capital levels. If you do think you would be eligible you will need to bring evidence of eligibility with you to the first interview.
We have offices in Dorset at Poole and Wimborne and provide legal services to Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon, Berkshire and West Sussex. Many of our services do not require you to visit our offices - so we can effectively serve you with legal advice wherever you are in the UK.