Legal aid: the myths & the facts
As regular readers will know, most family law legal aid disappeared down the plughole of Government cuts in April 2013. If the increase in visitors to this blog and sales of my Divorce & Splitting Up book are anything to go by, the inevitable has happened already: the number of people in need of access to expert legal advice has soared.
It may be too late for family law legal aid, but the controversies surrounding the cuts to legal aid for other areas of law continue to rumble on. Just this week, justice minister Chris Grayling announced a partial U-turn on proposals to award legal aid contracts to the lowest bidders. This was in the face of fierce opposition from lawyers and campaigners for justice, who warned the move would “irrevocably damage the criminal justice system.”
I note that Grayling and the supporters of his legal aid cuts, in the media and elsewhere, continue to advance the same arguments that were put forward when family law legal aid faced the axe. They maintain that the amount spent on legal aid in England and Wales every year makes it “one of the most expensive legal systems in the world”, and describe the “spiralling” legal aid bill.
So here’s a little food for thought for the weekend. Some figures that paint a different picture…
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Marilyn Stowe is the senior partner in Stowe Family Law, which has offices in Yorkshire, Cheshire and London. With more than 30 years’ experience handling divorce cases and family law proceedings she is regarded as one of the most formidable and sought after divorce lawyers in the UK. In 2012, Marilyn became one of the first solicitors to qualify as a family law arbitrator.
All persons mentioned in the scenarios are fictitious: details have been deliberately changed in order to protect identities and other confidential circumstances of my clients. All advice and information on this blog including posts written by guest authors, is given only as a general guide to the operation of the law on the date of publication. Readers must place no reliance whatsoever on the content of this blog and must always obtain their own legal advice. Marilyn Stowe, Stowe Family Law LLP and guest authors accept no liability whatsoever arising as a result of reliance upon its content.
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