Family lawyers voice concern at plans to reform legal support for vulnerable women and children

THE Bar Council and the Family Law Bar Association have expressed concern over plans, announced by the Ministry of Justice, to roll up payments to barristers and solicitors into a single advocacy fee, putting at risk effective access to justice for those who need most protection.

Lucy Theis QC, Chairman of the Family Law Bar Association, said:

‘The protection of children is a concern to all of us. There is often no second chance when children are at risk of harm. At a time when senior family judges are publicly raising concern that the system is creaking at the seams the LSC seem intent on putting it under increasing pressure – children, parents and the administration of the Courts will suffer.



The Bar Council and FLBA have always supported the principle of the same pay for the same work, but these proposals do not achieve this, as they pay the same fee irrespective of the work undertaken. The result will be that less complex cases will be over remunerated and the most complex cases under paid. Experienced specialist advocates will not be properly compensated for undertaking the complex work involving the most vulnerable families and children.

The proposals will have the effect of reducing the number of those willing to undertake this important work, and discourage those wanting to specialise in this vital area. The short and long term consequences of these proposals are not in the public interest.’