Hi there, hoping someone might be able to answer my questions about LA as I'm hoping I may be eligible.
Firstly, I understand that I would need to repay the costs out of any settlement reached during the divorce. But I have also been told that my H's legal fees would be taken out of the matrimonial pot before splitting. I suspect at these early stages that he has gone to a top London firm (no doubt at high cost) whereas I am using an out-of-town recommended LA solicitor. We disagree about the fundamental issue of residency of the children and I suspect our case will, very sadly, go to court.
Secondly, if my lawyer charges say £250ph for private legal work, what would I be charged per hour for her with LA? I understand from a MN lawyer that it would be less. I know I need to ask her about this but am nervous about unintentially causing offence to her. So far I am pleased with the small amount of contact and am trying to minimise it until I know that I can receive LA - she knows I have no access to money at the moment.
I completely understand what has been said to me about LA lawyers - that they are underpaid and overworked - not necessarily 'worse' than the high end lawyers who won't do legal aid in the first place. In my paranoid (read: terrified) state about 'losing everything' (H's threat to me if this proceeds) and eventually about possibly losing the access to my children that I think is right and in their interest, I really want to know that I'm doing the right thing with the lawyer I have and not compromising the result I'll get.
Sorry for any confusing ramble - really am so nervous at this stage.
Sorry - realised I didn't finish my first point - is that how it works - that his costs are split between us and my costs I have to bear personally if I've received legal aid? And how can it be fair for me to shoulder the burden of his high-end costs if he's choosing to splash out, while I'm being economical by choosing a low-cost person (I may be eligible for legal aid but engaged her services thinking I wouldn't be...)?
The costs you'll have to repay to the LSC will be treated the same as his unpaid costs.
There are fixed fees now for this kind of work. This means that the hourly rate is no more than £50, and often considerably less (unless on an hourly rate you do more than 3 times the fixed fee, all you get is the fixed fee. And guess what? The rates have been fixed so that an average case falls between 2-3 times the fixed fee.