Where has legal aid gone?

During my work as a solicitor, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is can I get legal aid for my case? (Will the government effectively pay the legal fees). Sadly, legal aid has been eroded by continuous governments to the point where generally, unless you have committed a major crime, or are in a family law situation and have suffered domestic abuse, you are unlikely to qualify. Riviera Mediation cannot get funding for your mediation (I wish we could!). I very much hope that this will change.

Currently, there are schemes to help with family law mediation and get funding towards that. For example, a child contact case. However, I suggest you contact a specialist family mediation firm (such as children1stmediation.co.uk) who can see if you qualify.

I hope that at some point whatever Government we get next will make mediation compulsory in all types of court cases (as it currently is for child contact cases and matrimonial finance cases) and provide some kind of ‘help with funding’ scheme to encourage people to engage with it, and not just see mediation as a stepping stone to tick off before going to court.

A recent report I read, said that Civil and commercial mediation has an 87% national success rate. Just think how much the clogged-up court system would be freed up if even half the cases brought settled at mediation. Just think of the money and time saved, too.

Ben Tisdall