The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 was brought into effect on 1st April 2013 and has made cuts to when people can obtain Legal Aid for family cases.

What is left of Legal Aid?

Although Legal Aid has been decimated, it is still available in certain situations and Solicitors still have a duty to tell Clients if Legal Aid is available. Legal Aid is still available for public law cases where a Local Authority is involved in a child’s life because of child protection concerns. It is also available for domestic abuse cases and child abduction cases.


There are evidential requirements in the number of family law cases and the following will bring a person into scope:

  • Criminal conviction for a domestic violence offence,
  • Police Caution for a domestic violence offence,
  • Ongoing criminal proceedings,
  • Protective Injunctions,
  • Being subject to a MARAC plan,
  • Finding of Fact of domestic violence via a Court,
  • A letter or report from a health professional,
  • Social Services confirming domestic violence,
  • A letter or report from a domestic violence support organisation confirming that somebody has been in a refuge.

When a child is at risk of abuse, a person can get Legal Aid for children issues but in a number of cases, one of the following needs to be evidenced:

  • Criminal conviction for a child abuse offence,
  • Police Caution for a child abuse offence,
  • Evidence of ongoing criminal proceedings for child abuse offence,
  • Evidence of a protective Injunction,
  • Finding of Fact of child abuse by Court,
  • Confirmation of child abuse from Social Services,
  • Evidence of application for a protective Injunction with a Prohibited Steps Order.

Legal Aid may be threatened like never before but it must be appreciated that for family law cases it’s still not dead and is therefore available in the majority of family law cases, subject to the above conditions.

At Ringrose Law, we offer free family law clinics at all our offices on the last Friday of every month. We have a specialist family law team that is able and willing to assist with any family matter you may have.

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