How does one of our Senior Associate Solicitors combine her knowledge of Family Law with her passion for history? Well, read what Karen Andrews has found out about a 15th century King of England.
First of all, I have to confess my bias. As a life-long ‘fan’ of King Richard III (and a former member of the Richard III Society) I have never been influenced by the poor reputation ascribed to him over the centuries, and I consider that he has long been misunderstood. But even I was surprised to learn along the way that his (rarely mentioned) drive for fairness and justice lead him to introduce the first Legal Aid!
He recognised that those with wealth had the education, power and ability to manipulate Court outcomes to their advantage whereas the less wealthy (often extremely poor) were left confused and vulnerable – often having their liberty and property removed before a case had even been decided. King Richard introduced what would become the Court of Requests and which allowed the poor to access legal advice and so increased their chances of a fair outcome.
Thankfully, the legal system and access to legal advice has come a long way since the 15th century. In 1949 Legal Aid was introduced in the UK and whilst changes to the system in 2013 mean that this no longer available as freely as before, it does still exist for certain types of cases and in certain circumstances.
While here at Dutton Gregory we no longer have a Legal Aid franchise (save for our Public Law child team) we can help identify other ways to fund legal costs and are always happy to discuss them because we understand (and worry) that wrong decisions are often made, or simply postponed, when a party fears they cannot afford to speak to a solicitor.
Options can include loans from friends or family members, litigation loans from commercial loan companies, or in some cases (where specific criteria are satisfied) orders that the other side contributes towards your costs as the case progresses (known as ‘Legal Services Orders’) or at the end of the case.
We can also discuss ways in which we could assist you without fully representing you (known as ‘unbundling’) where we limit the work we undertake and so limit the costs that you incur.
If you would like an initial meeting to discuss your situation and payment options then we can offer a first appointment for a maximum of one hour, at a reduced rate. Simply call the number of your local office or email email@example.com