Getting legal aid to cover the costs of advice.

When you face the prospect of losing your child, it can be reassuring to know that you may not need to pay to have a solicitor working by your side. If you can’t afford legal support, legal aid may be able to cover the costs of legal advice if your case concerns something as important as getting a reasonable level of contact with your child in care.  

Who can get legal aid?

Legal aid is available for people who can’t afford to pay for legal services or for those who need it for a very serious problem, such as the prospect of losing their child. It enables you to get free legal advice and representation, to make sure you are able to get your right to a fair hearing in court. In some cases, legal aid is automatically available based on the situation, and sometimes it is awarded based on your income and the importance and complexity of the case itself. 

If your eligibility is means tested, you will get legal aid if you are on Universal Credit, receiving certain other benefits or on an extremely low income. In addition, you need to have savings of less than £8,000. You will be asked to provide financial evidence. You may also need to contribute some money to the Legal Aid Agency, which is the government organisation running the scheme for people in England and Wales. 

The merits test for legal aid takes into account the complexity of the legal process and the importance of the case to you and your wellbeing. You also need to show that your case has more than a 45% chance of being successful.

We apply for legal aid for you, so you don’t need to worry about putting together your application by yourself. When you appoint us, we will let you know what to expect from your legal aid application, such as whether we believe you are likely to get it and how many of our services are likely to be covered. 

I’m a parent, do I get legal aid?

Parents or those with parental responsibility automatically get legal aid if they are going through care proceedings, applications for a child assessment order or an emergency protection order, or pre-proceedings (also known as Public Law Outline). If you are the biological father, then you can get automatic legal aid in these situations, even if you do not have parental responsibility. In these situations, legal aid is awarded automatically without means or merits testing, meaning you get it no matter what. For any other Child Care Law case, means and merits tested legal aid is likely to be available.

I don’t have parental responsibility. Will I get legal aid?

If you are facing care proceedings, a child assessment order or an emergency protection order, you may be eligible for legal aid and advice from a solicitor as long as you are a friend or relative of the child. It will be means and merits tested. If legal aid isn’t available, the local authority may fund some form of representation. 

Legal aid isn’t available for wider family if you are going through the pre-proceedings (PLO) process, unless you have parental responsibility.

Is legal aid available for placement or secure accommodation orders?

It may be available based on means and merits, no matter your relationship to the child. 

Is legal aid available for discharge of care orders or to get contact with child in care?

It may be available based on means and merits, no matter your relationship to the child. 

Is legal aid available to oppose an adoption order?

It may be available based on means and merits, no matter your relationship to the child. 

Can you get legal aid to take local authorities to court?

It may be available based on means and merits, no matter your relationship to the child. 

Is legal aid available for other court applications made by or against Local Authorities?

It may be available based on means and merits, no matter your relationship to the child. 

Apply for legal aid

Our solicitors can help you apply for legal aid while advising you on your case. To find out more or to get started with your application, call Denise Herman on +44 (0) 1923 725 015, email at deh@blasermills.co.uk or fill in our contact form.