With the President of the Family Division all but acknowledging that private family law proceedings will be removed from the scope of legal aid, we have to ask what this will mean for people wanting to litigate in family proceedings but do not have sufficient means to pay? Will it mean parents having to grow up a little and deal with their problems without running to lawyers?
The number of Litigants in person is going to dramatically increase over the next few years when the cuts in legal aid come into force, and that means people are going to have to either be reasonable or pay through the nose at private rates to lawyers to litigate their family disputes.
I think the removal of legal aid for private family proceedings will see a dramatic reduction in the number of contested children and ancillary relief cases before the courts on cost grounds alone, because people will know that they cannot buy legal advice at £50.00 per hour anymore and have a charge put on the house which they don’t have to pay until little Jimmy finishes his PHD.
The majority of the fault in the family Justice system does not lie with the courts or the lawyers but with the system and the people who use it.
If the system changes and it makes parents think twice or three times before they embark on pointless and nasty litigation, then this would be a piece of social engineering that I believe would make this country a better place.
It will also reduce the burden on the court system in terms of numbers and thereby reduce the bill to the Ministry of Justice for running the whole thing, a double saving if you will.