Litigants in Person in the Family Courts and the Court of Protection

For plain English guides to both the family court and the court of protection, for non-lawyers, go to Bath Publishing.

For an excellent summary go to Moneybox Live, BBC iPlayer Radio – click here.  From there you will find more related links.

When is legal aid available in family cases?

For the official guidance go to www.gov.uk/legal-aid/domestic-abuse-or-violence

In summary legal aid is available for:

  • Private family law matters (divorce, dissolution of civil partnership, property, finance and children matters) only where there is evidence of domestic violence or abuse or child abuse. Domestic violence or abuse covers psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse;
  • If you’re a victim of domestic violence or are at risk of being a victim of abuse, need advice on your rights to stay in your home and need a court order to protect you;
  • If you’re a victim of domestic violence or are at risk of being a victim of abuse and need advice on family matters such as divorce, financial disputes or disputes about children;
  • If you need to protect a child who is at risk of abuse – for example, you need to apply to court to prevent someone who has abused a child from having contact with them;
  • For family mediation;
  • For family court proceedings if you are a child;
  • If you need protection from being forced into marriage or because you have been forced into marriage;
  • If the local authority is taking court proceedings to take your child into care;
  • To stop children being removed from the UK or to get them returned if they have been unlawfully removed;
  • To enforce European Union and international agreements about children and maintenance.

There are very strict rules about the proof that you have to show to qualify for legal aid in these cases.

This means of course that in all those cases where child arrangements can’t be agreed and there is no domestic violence or abuse or child abuse, you are on your own unless you can afford to pay or find help from the voluntary sector.

If you are unsure whether you are entitled to Legal Aid, either in the Family Court or the Court of Protection, check here.