Are Special Guardians elibigle to receive Legal Aid?

Skippy
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 5:01 pm

Are Special Guardians elibigle to receive Legal Aid?

Postby Skippy » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:00 pm

Our nephew lives with us on a special guardianship order. The judge refused to grant a contact order, as birth parents have been 'difficult' to say the least. Social services have a supervision order, and have taken the decision to cancel the last three contact sessions.

Parents are now saying that they will take us back to court (by which I suspect they want to take Social Services to court to secure fixed contact). We paid all our legal fees during the hearing where we were granted the special guardianship order, and that used up all our savings. Now that our nephew is living with us, will we get Legal Aid to cover legal expenses if they do take us back to court? Also, will they still be eligible for legal aid (neither of the parents work, and only father is eligible for any benefits)?

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: Are Special Guardians elibigle to receive Legal Aid?

Postby Suzie, FRG Adviser » Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:39 am

Dear Skippy

Welcome to the Family and Friends carer's board and the information you share about the special guardianship order you have in relation to your nephew.

You have stated that you understand that the parents may apply for a contact order through the court, and want to know if you would qualify for legal aid under these circumstances.

It may be an idea for you to consider resolving any disputes about contact informally and in a more cost effective way through either mediation or via a family group conference.

As a result of the complex changes to the legal aid system, under exceptional circumstances and if there is evidence of child protection issues within a 24 month period you qualify for the merits and means test, you could be entitled to financial support.

For more information on your own (and the parents' entitlements), can I suggest you refer to pages 15 - 18 and page 46 and 51 of the special guardianship advice sheet for further information. We have a separate advice sheet for parents about special guardianship orders on our website.

Alternatively, you may want to contact the Family Rights Group advice line on 0808 801 0366 Monday to Friday 09.30 am to 03.00 pm or you can contact the Community Legal Advice Line on 0845 345 4345.

Best Wishes

Suzie

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ied53
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:26 pm

Re: Are Special Guardians elibigle to receive Legal Aid?

Postby ied53 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:30 pm

Did the judge so no to a contact order or no to contact?
Irene
Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire
Tough times never last tough people do

Skippy
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 5:01 pm

Re: Are Special Guardians elibigle to receive Legal Aid?

Postby Skippy » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:06 pm

No to a contact order - the mother was so adamant in court that he shouldn't come to live with us, she said she'd prefer him to be adopted by strangers. The judge anticipated that there might be issues if *we* were bound by the contact order, as the guardian had made it clear that the visits were for the benefit of our nephew, not his parents - i.e. if there was no benefit to him, the parents had no right to question that.

Skippy
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 5:01 pm

Re: Are Special Guardians elibigle to receive Legal Aid?

Postby Skippy » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:09 pm

Sorry, to answer Suzie's query, we are open to mediation, but the parents are not - they are adamant that it is us that 'stole' their child, rather than accepting that they neglected and abused their son. That's why social services took him away, and we had no involvement in that process.

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ied53
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:26 pm

Re: Are Special Guardians elibigle to receive Legal Aid?

Postby ied53 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:16 pm

Let them bring it on as a judge has already stated he was not prepared to give a contact order due to the "parents " not behaving doubt that would change. You have been entirely reasonable and as you say it is for child not them. The birth parents rarely accept responsibility for their actions
Irene

Grandparent carer in Lincolnshire

Tough times never last tough people do


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