Q v Q ; Re B (a child) ; Re C (a child)  EWFC 31 – 6 August 2014 – read judgment
Public funding is not generally available for litigants in private-law children cases, and no expert can now be instructed in such a case unless the court is satisfied, in accordance with section 13(6) of the Children and Families Act 2014, that the expert is “necessary” to assist the court to resolve the proceedings “justly”. As the President of the Family Division observed, restrictions on legal aid in certain circumstances has led to a “drastic” reduction in the number of legally represented litigants:
The number of cases where both parties are represented has fallen very significantly, the number of cases where one party is represented has also fallen significantly and, correspondingly, the number of cases where neither party is represented has risen very significantly.
All this has led to increased calls on the Bar Pro Bono Unit, which is generally not able to meet the demand.
Sir James Munby P has therefore suggested that the cost of certain activities, such as bringing an expert to court and providing advice to parents accused of sexual offending within the family, should be borne by the Courts and Tribunals Service. Continue reading