Tag Archive | "Jo Edwards"

Domestic violence legal aid time limit invalid


Last year the High Court rejected a legal challenge from domestic violence charity Rights of Women over the lawfulness of rules that require domestic violence victims to provide a prescribed form of evidence to apply for family law legal aid.

However, in The Queen (on the application of Rights of Women) v The Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Justice, the Court of Appeal has upheld a challenge to the government’s changes to legal aid for victims of domestic violence. Read the full story

Posted in Civil Law, Law Updates, Legal AidComments (0)

Nearly a fifth of all courts and tribunals in England and Wales to close


Eighty-six of 460 courts and tribunal hearing centres will shut as part of “modernisation” plans, HM Courts and Tribunal Service has confirmed. The reforms aim to reduce the £500m annual cost of the courts estate. The government has published a schedule for the closures, with six phases planned between now and September 2017.

Justice minister Shailesh Vara confirmed that, on average, the 86 courts due to be closed were only being used for just over a third of their available hearing time, equivalent to fewer than two days a week. The government has reprieved five courts identified for closure as part of its review of the estate. Read the full story

Posted in Law UpdatesComments (0)

In-court advice centres


One of the many malign effects of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) was to put paid to the Citizen Advice Bureaux and other legal advice sources. The Act swept away entitlement to state-funded legal advice in family, employment, housing and welfare benefits, clinical negligence, immigration, education and other common civil legal cases.

As a direct result the family courts system is at breaking point due to delays caused by unrepresented litigants and overstretched judges. There has been a surge in the number of “litigants in person” – those who do not have lawyers to argue on their behalf. As many as 650,000 people have been deprived of support by changes to legal aid. Read the full story

Posted in Civil Law, Legal AidComments (0)

Family courts system at breaking point


The family courts system is at breaking point due to delays caused by unrepresented litigants and overstretched judges according to Resolution, the body that represents lawyers and professionals in divorce hearings.

Jo Edwards, a solicitor and the newly appointed chair of Resolution, fears that a two-tier system of justice is emerging where private clients opt out of overcrowded, slow-moving public courts in favour of private arbitration hearings.

Cuts to legal aid have deprived separating couples of funding for representation and legal advice, leaving them to navigate their own way through the courts as they attempt to reach settlements on complex, emotional issues of child custody and division of family assets. People representing themselves and deriving no real guidance tend to bring along more supporters, increasing the number of “raised voices” in family courts and the level of tension, she said. Read the full story

Posted in Civil LawComments (0)


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