Announcement comes as demands on services increases
Charities and organisations which support people facing legal disputes will be provided extra funding as part of a government grant to provide an extra £12 million in funding.
The organisations help people provide free advice and information regarding their legal disputes and this scheme builds on previous grants which were first started in October 2020. Since then, over 33,000 people have been supported by these organisations, with nearly two-thirds of cases being resolved before reaching court.
The funding includes more than £5 million of investment this year, with a £1 million cost of living grant. The grant will replace the current Help Accessing Legal Support grant worth £3.2 million which is due to end in June 2023.
Justice Minister Lord Bellamy said:
“Those who most need support should be able to access it quickly and easily, which is why we’re increasing funding for organisations providing this vital service.
Early intervention helps prevent people from undergoing lengthy court proceedings – saving time, money and unnecessary stress.”
One person who received help from one of the organisations stated:
“[The advisor] gave me sound legal advice to help me make choices to keep me safe and get my house back.
If I had not had access to the [advice] it is quite likely that I may have not had the courage or the understanding to go to court to seek these orders, or even worse, that I would have returned to an abusive and volatile relationship as I would not have had any other option.”
Cara Walker, Mobile Legal Adviser at Norfolk Community Law Service, said:
“Providing outreach legal help to people is vital in a large rural county like Norfolk. The Ministry of Justice funding enables me to work with clients on a long term basis in community settings, who have a range of complex legal problems-including welfare benefits, domestic abuse and immigration.”
Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group, said:
“Our Advice and Advocacy Service provides social care and legal expertise to families, including parents whose children are in need or subject to child protection enquiries and relatives raising children who cannot live at home.
The Help Accessing Legal Support Grant is funding our new webchat service for families and is enabling us to provide more intensive support to callers to our advice line, allowing more children to live safely and thrive within their families and safely averting them entering a care system already in crisis.”