Simpson Millar LLP is looking out for legal aid
Member of Parliament and former lawyer, Elfyn Llwyd made a speech on legal aid
changes. His speech quoted family law Associate Solicitor Emma Hopkins, from Simpson Millar LLP. The Welsh MP expressed his concerns over the changes to legal aid
that came into force on 1 April 2013, as well as the direction the government is currently taking on further reform
Elfyn Llwyd MP warned that the current reforms would mean that many solicitors wouldn't be able to effectively represent families in more complicated and lengthy cases
, since their funding would be limited. Many would stop providing legal aid altogether, since firms would simply be unable to afford
to take on legal aid work.
He went further, predicting the end of many high street firms. This was due to the combination of legal aid cuts
and the closure of local courts
Would you be able to see a family lawyer?
Family law in particular is at risk, with Elfyn Llwyd MP saying that "the sustainability of the family legal professional is at risk".
He then quoted Simpson Millar LLP’s Emma Hopkins, who said:
"Further cuts to the fees paid in family cases threaten the quality of legal representation
and the future of many firms that have historically acted mainly or solely for publicly funded clients. Experienced family law solicitors are now priced out of a job
and their place will be taken by unqualified inexperienced paralegals
or they will not be replaced at all. Many law firms have decided it is not viable to continue to offer legally aided family law services."
Legal issues in family law can often be fraught with difficulty, especially since it is an emotional time involving children, money and property. This is why an experienced specialist solicitor is required to provide clear advice, correctly drafted bespoke legal documents, negotiate effectively on your behalf and provide robust representation to ensure your best interests are protected
. Accurate, early advice often in fact saves costs by avoiding unnecessary litigation.
The future of legal services
At Simpson Millar LLP the Family Law team are able to offer legal aid where the eligibility criteria can still be met
and also innovative services such as fixed fees for divorce and advice regarding children issues and a pay-as-you-go service for people on low incomes. In addition the department offers legally aided and private mediation, collaborative law and traditional full representation services at competitive hourly rates
Elfyn Llwyd MP’s closing statement was that "The value of justice to a society is not quantifiable
– it is a standard that cannot be priced. And we meddle with that at our peril."