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Where to get legal information and advice if you can’t afford a solicitor

Tags: legal aid, legal advice
Content Types: Legal
Categories: Separating

You may have heard that the legal aid rules changed in April 2013.  

For most people who need a solicitor to give them legal information and advice about their children or finances after separation or divorce they will have to pay as a private client.

However, legal aid is still provided to people in certain circumstances. You are entitled to legal aid if:

  • you are a victim of domestic abuse,
  •  there are child protection issues or
  •  there is a danger of your child being abducted  

A limited amount of independent legal advice funded through legal aid is also available for people who have used mediation.

Legal aid for Mediation

Family mediators are professionals trained to help people at any point in the separation process. They will listen to you, provide you with legal information (but not advice) and help you make informed decisions about the future.

You will usually be offered an individual, one to one meeting, during which you can talk through your situation and discuss what to do next. It is a personalised service and the mediators can also signpost you to the specific help that you need.

Not many people realise that legal aid is still available for mediation.

Using mediation alongside a solicitor can be a good way of keeping costs down.

If you do not qualify for legal aid, mediation fees are generally cheaper than using solicitors. Research shows that agreements are made more quickly than going to court[1].  

For more information on where you can locate your local mediation services that offer legal aid, contact the Mediation Helpline.

Legal aid for a solicitor

You may qualify for legal aid to see a solicitor if:

  • You are a victim of domestic abuse and have evidence

If you do not qualify for legal aid, ask if they offer a free half hour or a fixed fee initial meeting.

Legal information on theParentConnection

The Parent Connection has gathered some essential information for parents which could prove useful

For more information visit our legal section.


[1] Bourn, J (2007). Legal Services commission: Legal aid and mediation for people in family breakdown. National Audit Office. London: The Stationary Office.


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