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Almost 20,000 more parents defend themselves in family court cases

Date:16 JUL 2014
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Following cuts to legal aid almost 20 000 more parents went to court without a lawyer in 2013/14 according to unpublished Government figures.

The surge in unrepresented parents contesting child contact and residence cases follows the withdrawal of legal aid from family lawyers in April 2013 for most private family law matters.

Far from reducing the number of warring parents heading to court cuts to legal aid resulted in an annual increase. But it is the surge in the number of unrepresented parents that will be a cause for concern among parenting and child welfare organisations.

For the first time ever over half (58%) of all parents who attended court in 2013/14 did so without a lawyer to represent them. In total UK family courts dealt with 19 140 more unrepresented parents leading to an unprecedented warning from judges about courtroom delays and access to justice.

Jerry Karlin Chair of shared parenting charity Families Need Fathers said:

'It is staggering that so many parents are effectively being left to fend for themselves. We urgently need to develop affordable and compelling services that strive to keep parents from the courtroom....

Read the full article here.