John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Saturday, August 07, 2010
  Legal aid proposals for family division
There is a lot of wailing going on about the legal aid proposals. Some of it may be valid.

However, given that most firms of solicitors merely roll over when facing care proceedings against their clients I see a lot of the money as being simply wasted.

Furthermore given that legal aid is from time to time refused for parents who wish to contest proceedings I wonder what it is all about.
 
Comments:
Parents are entitled to legal aid as of right in care proceedings. They are never refused legal aid for this type of case.
 
I know of two cases where the legal aid certificate was rescinded because the parents wished to contest proceedings.
 
I thought I posted a comment before Lucy did - I do not know of a case in which parents have been refused legal aid for the original care proceedings - this is non-means, non-merits tested ie automatic. SSD bring proceedings - parents get public funding - only refused at a later stage if they want to appeal or discharge the care order -and are deemed to have no merit. I am very uncomfortable about the role of the original lawyer in recommending appeals and the whole structure of funding for appeals but the main case is without issue - happy to discuss if you have other information.
 
There are difficulties changing lawyer and indeed contesting an ICO when the ICO has originally been agreed. The difficulty is that at times parents are bullied into accepting an ICO and then recognise their error. Then they have legal aid removed because they wish to contest an ICO.

An ICO can be challenged on Article 8 even if originally accepted although the childrens act would not necessarily permit this.
 
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