Public funds, known as legal aid, are sometimes provided to pay for legal advice, family mediation and court representation. This is allocated by the Legal Aid Agency in England and Wales.
There is strict criteria to be met to be eligible for legal aid. This can usually be broken down into three key considerations:
- Eligibility– the matter is within the scope of legal aid
- Affordability – you are unable to afford your own legal costs
- Merits test – the likelihood of success and the reasonableness of the costs
Most family law cases will need to be means-tested before legal aid can be allocated and you will have to show that you are unable to pay your legal fees. This means you will be required to give information about your income, benefits, savings, property, and shares, as well as those of your partner.
Non-means tested legal aid is available if your child is subject to care or supervision proceedings. You may also qualify for legal aid for some injunctions, such as a non-molestation order, however a contribution may be required.
You can check your eligibility for legal aid here: https://www.gov.uk/check-legal-aid