Family cases are daunting, so we wanted to create a quick 30 second snapshot to help explain how to obtain legal aid for those that qualify. 
Legal aid for cases where social services are involved at any legal meetings or for Court representation in relation to care or supervision orders is available for everyone with parental responsibility for a child involved without being means tested. 
Legal Aid which is means and merits tested can also assist you in covering the costs of legal guidance, family mediation and representation in court. Rosie Bracher Solicitors have a contract with the Legal Aid Agency and can provide legal support to our qualifying clients wherever they are. 
What is Legal Aid? 
The Legal Aid program is a funding scheme from the UK government to help individuals on lower incomes, without savings or realisable assets to access legal representation. Law firms can only offer Legal Aid support services if they are approved by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA). Very few solicitors have this approval but Rosie Bracher Solicitors have contracts to offer legal aid for family cases in both their Barnstaple and Okehampton offices. 
Are You Eligible for Legal Aid? 
The criteria for eligibility for Legal Aid in family law matters can be complex. There are typically three factors to consider to receive support: 
- Scope or Coverage. * Legal Aid for family law can assist with disputes involving children (including where social workers are involved), divorce, and property and financial disagreements arising from separation, and domestic abuse. 
- Means test - financial assessment. *Eligibility is based on having a low income and minimal savings or assets, such as property or valuable items. *If you receive money or property as a result of your case, you may be required to repay some or all of the costs covered by Legal Aid. 
- Merit test - consideration of the case’s worthiness. * Likelihood of success in your case * Reasonableness of costs compared to the potential benefits of winning the case * Whether a reasonable person with financial means would use their own funds to pay for the case. 
- Regulation 33/34 evidence – since 2013 for non care/social work cases (see below) a person applying for legal aid needs to show evidence of domestic or child abuse to quality for legal aid – this takes the form of producing prescribed written evidence from certain professionals like the Women’s refuge, a GP, social worker, the police and so on. The evidence has to be exactly as prescribed by the rules and our trained staff can guide you through this process. 
- Most (but not all) cases involving social workers are entirely free to a client with parental responsibility for the relevant child. 
Check Your Eligibility using the Legal aid agencies own Eligibilty checker here: 
Contact our team in Barnstaple and Okehampton for more information on determining your eligibility for Legal Aid. 
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