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Demand for legal aid soars

Applications for legal aid have soared by more than a quarter, new figures reveal.

In its latest statistical bulletin, the Ministry of Justice reports a surge in demand for public funding in cases involving reports of domestic violence: the number of applications made between July and September 2016 was 26 per cent higher than for the same period last year. The percentage of applications granted now stands at around 75 per cent.

Legal Aid Statistics in England and Wales also shows that a sharp reduction in the number of MIAMs. Attendance at a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting is technically required of anyone who wishes to take a family matter to court, but in practice they are widely ignored. The new figures show a continuing decline: the total number of MIAMs held across the third quarter this year was 17 per cent lower than the same period last year.

New family law cases overall fell by around eight per cent across the quarter, when compared to 2015.

Read more here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Tim says:

    If, as I understand it, legal aid is nowadays only provided to those who allege “domestic violence”, it is no wonder applications have surged. Who wants to pay for legal representation when they don’t have to? So, allege DV. It doesn’t matter that thousands of men (it is more usually men, it seems) will have their character besmirched and their record tainted — just collect the MONEY.

    This may seem somewhat cynical, but I imagine it is true. What is more, from my experience, those who evaluate applicants for legal aid pay scant attention to the applicants’ actual financial standing. They only have to claim lack of funds — and they will more than likely get legal aid. Very little investigation is done. It seems the applicant’s word is gospel. And if they can use that to stick their spouse for even more money in the eventual financial settlement — why not give it a go?

    They have almost nothing to lose, as precious little checks are made.

    And so the wheels of “justice” grind on….

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