The courts have seen a 27% increase in private family law applications last month (these are generally regarding where a child should live and how often they should see the non-resident parent).
The number of cases currently being heard by the courts is now twice that of what it was two years ago. This has piled the pressure on not only Judges and court staff who are said to be ready to “collapse in on themselves”, but also on other agencies who assist the court, such as CAFCASS (who protect the interests of children in private law cases) who received the highest level of referrals in May to date.
The above does not surprise any family lawyer, it has been predicted since the reduction in legal aid was announced, that the courts would be flooded with parents who have no choice but to represent themselves.
The increase in cases will inevitably lengthen the time until each case can be heard. This will increase the likelihood that parents with little or no contact with their children will take desperate action.
Without parents having access to legal advice and being aware of the proper procedure there has also been a reduction in mediation.
If you are struggling to gain contact with your child it would be advisable to consider contacting a mediator. Mediators have the availability to see you within a reasonable time limit, something which is looking less and less likely with the court, and may mean your case is resolved quicker and with less animosity. The real victims in the reduction of legal aid are the children stuck in the middle of warring parents who no longer have access to legal advice and are stuck with endless forms and waiting lists in the court system.
If you are unsure which is the best way forward for you please contact Edward Hands and Lewis family team for a free 30 minute consultation.
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