South Liverpool’s Garston community already suffering from changes in law, says leading Liverpool law firm
Key changes in legal delivery helping to ease burden says Gregory Abrams Davidson
The recent withdrawal of almost all public funding for family law including contact and residence disputes over children, divorce and finances is beginning to affect those hardest hit, maintains leading Liverpool law firm Gregory Abrams Davidson.
Solicitor Darren Matthews maintains that the cuts are ill-conceived and are already hitting the most vulnerable members of society hardest.
He said: We are the only law firm in the Garston area and coupled with the ongoing economic pressures in the region and country, the long term effects could be catastrophic for people who need specialist advice and representation. There is Legal Aid available in very limited circumstances, for example, where social services have applied for care orders, or where people have suffered domestic abuse or violence.
“Irrespective, one of the main criticisms of the changes widely echoed in the legal industry has been the lack of information provided by government and it has been left to the legal profession to break the bad news to people. I have seen first-hand already how this is impacting on people who feel helpless and especially children who could become vulnerable without help. It will also place further pressure on for example the police who are already over stretched.”
Mr. Matthews believes that law firms modernising their approach to make advice and representation even more accessible is one way forward.
“It’s a path we’ve been focusing on for the past 12 months. We’ve been serving the area for more than 20 years now and Garston is a tight-knit community. We have introduced a range of fixed fees for certain types of work. We are also looking at identifying alternative funding solutions for clients who need advice. We are showcasing our overall offer via partnerships with other community-oriented agencies and explaining how we’ve been able to streamline the process for e.g. divorce to keep things manageable and affordable for clients.”
He added: “We’re also looking at opportunities for clients to control their costs. Clients may wish to use us for specific parts of proceedings or instruct us in the traditional sense.”
Mr. Matthews is also a member of the Law Society Children Panel with a particular interest in child care cases for which legal aid continues to be applicable.
“In spite of the radical changes in law, I must stress that where people are seeking advice and representation urgently, if they are suffering or at risk or their children are, they should contact us immediately.”