For Family Law cases, a new law from 1st April 2013 changed the position on Legal Aid so that it is no longer available to cover any application relating to divorce, children, or finances, unless certain limited circumstances apply.
Legal Aid will only be available for these cases if there has been Domestic Abuse. Domestic Abuse is defined as any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (whether psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between individuals who are associated with each other. This will be proved in a number of ways including Medical Reports, Court Orders, criminal convictions or proof someone has been housed in a refuge. However, the Legal Aid Agency will not pay to obtain the proof. See here for more information on Domestic Abuse.
Legal Aid is means tested for private family cases. See the Legal Aid eligibility calculator.
In addition, Legal Aid is still available for all cases where an Injunction is to be applied for and sometimes to defend an injunction application.
Legal Help is available to assist with Mediation for finances and/or children issues if both parties are prepared to engage in the process and to assist in preparing a Consent Order if the matter is agreed and there are current divorce proceedings.
Legal Aid is also still available for all Child Abduction and Public Law Child Care cases. In some of these cases it is not means tested.
For Mental Health Tribunals and Court of Protection cases Legal Aid is available, in some cases dependent on finances.
Access Law only have legal aid contracts in Family and Mental Health cases. Legal Aid is available from other advisers for other areas such as criminal cases or housing, in limited circumstances.
For more advice on Legal Aid, see here.