Legal Aid Reforms

Justice For Us All

“The more laws, the less justice is served.”

From 1st April 2013, the Legal Aid system incurred a series of changes in order to cut Legal Aid spending in certain areas. This means that most civil matters will not be funded by the Legal Aid System, and other cases will be determined on a Means Test basis.

Legal Aid will ‘not’ fund:

  • Private Family Law Cases such as divorce and custody
  • Personal injury
  • Certain clinical negligence Claims
  • Certain employment and education Claims
  • Immigration matters, where the person is not detained
  • Certain housing, debt and benefit matters
  • The Legal Aid system will continue funding other Claims such as:

  • Domestic violence, when urgent proceedings are needed, and will need to be backed with GP evidence and certain Court Orders
  • Forced marriages where urgent proceedings are required
  • Care proceedings, involving social services
  • Child abduction
  • Asylum seeking
  • Debt and housing Claims where a person’ home may be at risk
  • Advice under the the Legal Help Scheme, available when attending mediation
  • Legal Aid granted for Claims before 1st April 2013
  • How will the Means Test be carried out?

    If you have a ‘hold income’ of less than £14,000 per year, and disposable assets of less than £1,000, then you will be entitled to full Legal Aid.

    If however; you have a household income of between £14,000 and £32,000 per year, then you will need to go through a detailed Means Test in order to qualify for a subsidiary of Legal Aid.

    If you have an income of more than £32,000, you will not qualify for Legal Aid.

    If your household income is less than £14,000, but you have disposable assets of over £1,000; then you will need to pay certain contributions.

    Changes to the Criminal Legal Aid System

    There have also been a number of changes to criminal Legal Aid within the reforms:

  • Legal Aid Provider Contracts will be cut from 1,600 to 400 in the UK, thereby cutting the amount of Legal Aid Solicitors operating.
  • Defendants will be ‘unable’ to choose their Legal Aid Solicitor. The will be provided with solicitor under the new system, and they will have to stick with them.
  • A solicitor will be chosen from your locality
  • An equal share of work will be awarded to Providers (Solicitor Firms) around the country
  • You can use the Government’s Online Legal Aid Checker to see whether you are entitled to Legal Aid or not.

    “In law, nothing is certain, but the expense”