Thursday, April 16, 2009

Two Tier Family Law

Judith Middleton gave me the title for this post from her comment to this post. I had already seen the following articles regarding the English system of public funding for family law cases. I have written before on this topic (see here and here) but with the current economic crisis I think the problems will get worse here.

What has surprised me most about the issue of attorney fees, is the complete absence of any comment from readers like you. I would think that limited access to the courts that control your family law case would incite more interest.

As I just wrote, I do favor the English system. I present the following articles from The London Times to show its problems. I do not expect perfection, I just think our system is a disservice to our citizens making the English problems not so bad. We have these same problems and probably to far greater extent.

"He said that nearly £3 million of the cuts were aimed at private cases involving disputes between parents over contact with children, for example. But evidence showed that 45 per cent of such cases involved allegations of serious abuse.

Lucy Theis, QC, chairman of the Family Law Bar Association, which commissioned the study, said the report confirmed that barristers were being driven from family work.

“The consequences of this loss of expertise are extremely grave for some of the most vulnerable in society,” she said, adding that she was receiving up to 70 e-mails a day and that hundreds of barristers would be meeting this weekend to discuss what action to take."


But Justice Minister, Willy Bach said: "We cannot allow barristers' fees to increase at the expense of services for vulnerable clients. Over the last five years we have seen a 134% rise in fees paid, but just a 36% increase in the number of cases taken on. This is clearly unsustainable and if we did not act we could be forced to reduce legal assistance to vulnerable children and families.

"Child protection is our absolute priority, which is why as part of the changes introduced we have put an extra £4.4 million into the basic fees for this work. This will ensure at least 3,500 child protection cases receive extra funding.

"This work is well paid, barristers receive at least £50 an hour for hearings and much higher fees are claimable in complex cases. There are over 3000 family legal aid barristers and we are confident our changes will not affect services to the public.”

For those who want to know: UK£ 50 = 70.45500 U.S. dollars

New war of words over family legal aid cuts:

"This time ministers have announced plans to cut barristers’ fees for legally aided family disputes by up to £150 a case: the aim is to slice £6.5 million next year from the legal aid bill.

The latest onslaught on the £2 billion-a-year legal aid budget will affect cases involving contact with children or where a child lives after a divorce, as well as disputes between couples over money."


Figures show that in 2003-04, the average cost of a child protection case was £2,288, which had risen to £3,364 in 2007-08.
I also suggest giving a look at My fees are going to be cut for doing my job from Bloody Relations.

Remember, if you want more information about retaining me for a case, please give me a call at 765-641-7906.

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