The comments made in the Court of Appeal judgement in Lindner v Rawlins  EWCA Civ 51
on the ‘false economy’ of the legal aid savings are indicative of ever worsening issues in the family justice system caused by the legal aid cuts and the rise in unrepresented parties, says family law organisation Resolution
Resolution chair Jo Edwards
'As an organisation working at the coalface of family justice, Resolution members see every day the problems caused by the Government’s cuts to family legal aid. Cases such as Lindner v Hawkins, involving unrepresented parties, take up a disproportionate amount of court and judicial time, and can sadly often lead to unfavourable outcomes for one or both litigants. People are entering the courts without a clear understanding of their legal position or the options available to them to help them resolve matters out of court.'
'Resolution agrees with Lady Justice Black’s comments in today’s case. We believe timely and appropriate legal advice is crucial to helping separating couples manage conflict and costs. Resolution proposes that funding be made available for initial legal advice in family cases. This would allow litigants to access a legal professional at the points in the process where they need it most and to gain a better understanding of their position – so that even if they end up representing themselves, they have an understanding from the outset of the likely brackets of outcome at court and are more likely to be able to negotiate a settlement or engage in mediation successfully, meaning that the courts are less burdened.'
The full judgment for Lindner v Rawlins  EWCA Civ 51 is available here.