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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Monday 1 August 2016


You have made an application for some financial order in a family case and you are in need of a lawyer. You have tried every means of hiring one but in vain. You just haven't got the money to pay. But your opponent does have enough money to pay or contribute towards your legal costs. You may be able to obtain a legal services order which requires your opponent to do precisely that. You would have to show you just cannot obtain the money from anywhere else, not even from borrowing. The court is unlikely to expect you to sell or mortgage the home in which you live so as to raise cash.

A High Court judge has just made a legal services order in favour of a mother who was seeking financial provision for her child under the Children Act 1989. The father who is her opponent is extraordinarily wealthy and is legally represented. The mother has no resources or income of her own and she cannot reasonably obtain legal funding from elsewhere to see her case through. The court wanted to ensure that mother and father were on an equal footing in the proceedings. The father was ordered to pay 85% of the mother's legal costs so far incurred and expected to be incurred in the proceedings.