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Legal Problems for the Vulnerable
A recently published Ministry of Justice Survey has identified that more legal problems for the vulnerable members of society, including those with a disability, lone parents, and those who have a household income of less than £15,000 per year, are likely to be faced. These issues relate to employment matters, debts, and family problems.
With the Legal Aid available for family matters being cut drastically in 2013, this has left many people with limited choices as to how to get help and advice, as they often do not have the funds to pay for a solicitor and as a result may find themselves dealing with it alone.
The Legal Problem Resolution Survey was based on 10,058 telephone surveys between November 2014 and March 2015. Findings were due to be published in early 2016, but were not made available until 2017. The survey revealed that almost half of those who had experienced a legal problem had also experienced an ‘adverse consequence’, including mental health difficulties, stress, and financial strain, placing more pressure on already vulnerable people.
The report recommends that these vulnerable people could benefit from ‘targeted support’, although more needs to be done to identify what that support should be. The Lord Chancellor has announced that a green paper on legal support will be published in 2018, and for many this cannot come soon enough.
Following the changes to Legal Aid many family lawyers made efforts to re-think their payment options in the hopes of still being able to offer help and support to people who now find themselves unable to secure help with fees. At WSP we offer a range of fixed fees and are also happy to discuss payment options and provide details of litigation loans where this is considered suitable. We recognise how stressful family breakdown and difficulties can be, and access to clear, helpful and friendly advice can really help in making such a situation more manageable.
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