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Can she get legal aid?

(4 Posts)
Oswin Thu 11-Jun-15 13:14:39

I'm asking on behalf of a family friend.
Friend has a daughter who is a violent alcoholic. She is unable to care for her son. So social services stepped in and sent him to live with my friend.
Since the child has lives with my friend he has come on leaps and bounds. He is like a different child.
The daughter has attacked my friend multiple times since friend has had care of the child.

Now social services have decided the child should go back to the mother even though on visits she has been drunk and violent. She has refused any help with her drinking problem and refuses parenting courses.
Now my friend is in a state worrying what will happen to her grandson.
Can she apply for the child to live with her? And would she qualify for legal aid seeing as the daughter has been violent towards her?
Thanks.

Oswin Sat 13-Jun-15 11:15:57

Bump, she's out of her mind with worry.

ChickenLaVidaLoca Sat 13-Jun-15 14:48:31

She can certainly make an application. Assuming she's in England and Wales, as she doesn't have parental responsibility she needs to apply to the court for permission to apply for a residence order. It's two separate applications. The reason for this is to stop any old random being able to apply for an order concerning a child that's nothing to do with them. As he's been living with her, I imagine she would be allowed to apply for residence as she's clearly genuine.

I don't know what the legal aid rules are now but tbh have a feeling the DV has to be from a partner. Check, though. Presumably there is a legal aid family solicitor locally for her even to be thinking of getting legal aid? They should be able to advise her on eligibility.

lostdad Sat 13-Jun-15 17:34:57

In a word, it dependings. Since the changes in the rules in April last year there are a number of set criteria. In the past all that was required was someone to make an allegations and legal aid would effectively be waved through.

You say she has been attacked. Did she document injuries? A letter from a health professional saying she has/had injuries that are consistent with those suffered during DV would suffice. So would admission (or a letter of admission) to a shelter although I guess this isn't appropriate here. Also a conviction for an act of DV would do.

These need to be within the last 18 months.

If your friend is on a low income she may be eligible for a fee remission (form EX160) for any application she needs to make.

Failing that, she may wish to consider using a McKenzie Friend. We are legal assistants who can do a lot of the work solicitors do, often at a fraction of the cost.

If she just wants some free advice she is welcome to get in touch with me. Also...contact Families Need Fathers. Despite the name it is for all people affected by family separation. At the meetings I run half of the people attending tend to be grandmothers these days...often in similar situation to your friends'.

Hope this helps.

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