Currently, in England and Wales, parents whose children are subject to a Local Authority Application to take the children into care receive full non means tested and non-merits tested public funding. However, parents who face the application for withdrawal of treatment for their child do not. This is despite the gigantic consequence of the decision being made.
This issue has come to light this week within the case of NHS Trust v The Parents as Mrs Justice Jude DBE points out this problem as she raised ‘Not only are these cases medically complex, but emotionally they are as hard as is possible to imagine for the parents.’
The child’s parents opposed the application and until the day of the hearing, they had no legal representation. However, a Barrister heard about their difficulty through the hospital Barrister and stepped in to represent them for free.
This is an extraordinary case which further shows the difficulty for many as they were not entitled to public funding at a time whereby the decisions being made are of the highest importance regarding their child’s life.
Since the cutbacks of Legal Aid funding, many parents have found it extremely difficult to obtain legal representation as they do not have the funds to pay for the service.
With regards to Private Children Applications, only those who meet the means and merit criteria of the Legal Aid Agency are entitled to Legal Aid. However, for this reason, thousands are placed in a predicament of seeking to make an application or respond to an application but do not have the resources to obtain the representation they require.
How we can help
At Bromleys, we assist with a Free 30 minute consultation whereby we are able to provide advice on if you are eligible for Legal Aid and if not, we can assist by providing advice regarding the Court Application process. Contact our family helpline on 0161 694 4167 for your free initial telephone discussion. If you prefer, you can fill in our online form or alternatively, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll call you back.