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Applications for contact by unrepresented parties swell family court system

The number of parents being forced to represent themselves in court has more than doubled in the past six years, following the scything cuts in legal aid. The latest government data revealed in 2017, 23,881 parents had no legal representation when making their application in private law proceedings for a child arrangements order, such as contact with a child . Since 2011, this figure has risen by 134%.

Hunter and Uro partner, Pui Uro stated, “Cuts to public funding in the family court system have seen many parents faced with little option but to attempt to navigate the potentially choppy waters of complex rules and legal jargon alone. Often parents attending court have not had the benefit of any legal insight prior to giving submissions to the court on what they feel is best for their children, which can frequently lead to prolonged, resource draining court proceedings and greater stress and anxiety for parents and children alike. the cuts to public funding affect victims of domestic abuse and parents seeking to reestablish contact with their children alike”

The government data shows the proportion of unrepresented applicants going to court rose from 1 in 5 in 2011, before the recent restrictions to legal aid began, to almost half of all cases in 2017. Furthermore, including both applicant and respondent parties, the figure rose 85% from 29,353 to 54,287.

If you would like to discuss securing an order for contact with your child, or other issues relating to children following the breakdown of a relationship, contact one of our expert family solicitors today on 01234 88977  or 0207 177 9777 for a free consultation. Serving rural and central Bedford, together with the City of London, our lawyers can help you with all your family law matters.

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