With the current uncertainty regarding interest rates and the cost-of-living prices it is becoming increasingly difficult for clients to find money to fund legal proceedings, particularly in Children Act Proceedings.
Back in December 2023 there was an article in the Law Society Gazette whereby a mother set up a fund-raising page for her family case.
The implications of setting up this fundraising page resulted in the mother losing her application to travel with her children to Asia to visit maternal family members after the website made it “difficult for the Court to trust” that the mother will not breach an order as a result of “another serious error of judgement” if she is permitted to travel with the children.
Unfortunately, the mother named herself and the children on the fundraising page, as well as including a photograph and details of her applications in the family proceedings. This is not permitted by the Court as these details are not to be publicly disclosed without the Court’s permission. Whilst the mother did not name the father, it was acknowledged by the Court that the father would be identifiable by anyone who knew the family.
As a result of this, the Judge said, “the publication of those details without first checking with her legal advisers was a serious error of judgement” and details of the proceedings published on the website had “inevitably set back the Court process.” Had the mother sought advice from her legal advisers, she would have been informed of the funding options available to her and that she would not be permitted to set up a fundraising page.
It is therefore extremely important for solicitors to discuss all the funding options available to clients when dealing with Children Act Proceedings, or any legal proceedings for that matter.
When discussing family matters with new and existing clients, we are able to advise them of the following options available to them, namely:
This is offered to clients who are unsure as to how to proceed and may just want to find out what the options are before taking any further action. At this appointment, clients are informed of our hourly charge out rates and are provided with an estimate of the likely costs and timescales involved with their particular case.
Payment is required in advance of or on the day of the appointment.
This is ongoing legal representation provided by us to all clients. This includes advice, advocacy to represent clients at Court Hearings and assistance. We draft all documentation and deal with negotiations associated with that representation.
Clients will be informed of our hourly charge out rates and the likely costs and timescales involved, with regular updates being received in relation to their legal fees and costs estimates.
We would require an initial payment on account in order to proceed with the proceedings and clients will receive monthly invoices.
There are clients who simply wish to be in charge of their own case to enable them to keep their legal costs to a minimum. Clients will prepare their own paperwork and will come to us as and when they require legal advice and assistance. We acknowledge that legal proceedings are expensive and that clients need to manage their own finances, yet still obtain the legal advice and assistance they need.
Pay As You Go does not include any representation at court hearings, but we can assist with preparing legal documents, such as statements. Clients will therefore represent themselves at all Court hearings.
When using Pay As You Go, this is charged at our hourly rate, and we will advise clients as to whether we feel that Pay As You Go is right for their matter.
At any stage, although we would require advanced notice of this, you can ask to change from Pay As You Go to Full Representation or vice-versa.