Changes to Legal Aid

Family law has been subject to many reforms in 2013, with a major change relating to the eligibility to Legal Aid. The Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 1912 governs applications for Legal Aid from 1 April 2013.

Legal Aid is not now available for private family and children cases unless there is evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.

Domestic violence includes harassment, theft, blackmail, threats to damage property and common assault. There is concern amongst family practitioners that the Act will increase the number of allegations of harassment being raised, resulting in harassment notices being issued by the Police. It is therefore crucial that if a dispute arises concerning family matters that you seek legal advice immediately so as to protect your position.

The reduction of Legal Aid has seen an increase in the number of litigants in person. The issue of costs is understandably a significant concern for anyone pursing matters such as divorce, dissolution of a civil partnership, separation and disputes over children. Dealing with the case yourself might seem like an attractive option, however using an experienced professional can often add value to your case, thereby increasing the chance of securing a better outcome for you.

We strongly believe that those who require assistance should not be denied legal advice. Our family law department can offer flexible arrangements in respect of the payment of fees to meet your personal circumstances. We also tailor our service and can have as little or as much involvement as you wish. We can act on a consultancy basis so as to give you in the background, or we can handle the case on your behalf from start to finish.

We recognise that some clients find it difficult to fund their case because they are unable to access assets until a settlement is reached and finalised. In appropriate cases, where clients cannot afford to fund their case as they go we offer deferred payment until the conclusion of the case.


Holiday periods can often be a very complicated and stressful time for separated families. Disputes over contact arrangements often arise, as both parents want to have their children with them over the holiday period. It is essential that you consider what is in your children’s best interests. In many cases a fair arrangement will be agreed following reasoned and sensible advice, without the need for Court involvement.

Our family team provide specialist and practical advice on resolving contact/access or residential/custodial disputes (including shared care arrangements) and all other Orders including Parental Responsibility, specific issue orders and prohibited steps orders.

We also offer advice in relation to mediation in an effort to avoid Court proceedings. Unfortunately there are cases where an application to the Court is necessary and we can represent you in those proceedings and help safeguard the interests of you and your children throughout.

Family Law Department at Hart Reade

We have a dedicated and experienced family law team, which consists of qualified solicitors and legal executives with many years of relevant experience. You can have confidence that your representative has the expertise to give prudent, considered and sound advice.

Please contact us to arrange a free, no obligation, initial appointment. We will discuss your circumstances, offer you some preliminary legal advice and discuss the issue of costs with you carefully.