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legal aid and family courts

(15 Posts)
meandmygirl1 Sat 09-Apr-16 11:56:56


My ex took me through Scottish family courts for 3 years to get access to dd. This was denied and he has not seen her since she was 2. She is now nearly 11.

He has repeatedly applied for legal aid to take me back to court for access and this has been refused up to now. I tried to find out information on him that would result in legal aid being withdrawn - that he is working, that he doesn't pay maintenance and his wages have now been arrested so maintenance will be paid - but legal aid have come back to say he is still getting it.

I am thinking of moving abroad as I don't want him to even breathe the same air as my dd.

My question is - is there anything else I can do to prevent it going to court?

Many thanks

runningincircles12 Sat 09-Apr-16 14:19:57

Are you still in Scotland or are you now in England and Wales? I don't know the law in Scotland I am afraid.
In England and Wales, you can't stop him from making a court application. That doesn't mean he will be successful though, especially as an order was made for no contact (presuming this was the case from what you wrote). He would not be able to get legal aid in England and Wales for this type of application. I don't know what the position is in Scotland, so the best thing is if any Scots lawyers on here can tell you what the deal is.
In England and Wales, you also cannot move abroad with dc without consent from parent with PR or leave of the court. Again, check position in Scotland.

meandmygirl1 Sat 09-Apr-16 18:04:26

Thank you - yes I am still in Scotland. I am going to move to Republic of Ireland if I can't find a way to stop him taking me to court.

I am devastated. I can't afford a lawyer this time as last time it cost me £20,000 and he paid nothing. It will be the same situation again.

I know it's separate but he doesn't pay any maintenance and his wages have now been arrested and he has arrears of thousands.

He is doing this as a form of control and because he can and it won't cost him anything financially

babybarrister Sat 09-Apr-16 19:04:13

You cannot move to RoI and if you do you are committing a criminal offence of child abduction and you will be returned to Scotland within months pursuant to the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention - have a look at the Reunite website

meandmygirl1 Sat 09-Apr-16 19:13:54

Even if at present there is court order in place stating no access?

babybarrister Sat 09-Apr-16 19:51:06

yes - it is all a question of who has PR NOT who is having contact. That does not mean that the court would not let you go if you made an application - have a good read of the Reunite website and also have a look at the thread re taking children on holiday .....

meandmygirl1 Sat 09-Apr-16 20:27:53

Thank you for the hints much appreciated

Huppopapa Thu 14-Apr-16 21:15:33

Does he in fact have PR? It is fundamental to the answer?

runningincircles12 Fri 15-Apr-16 12:43:54

He would have PR if named on the birth certificate. Even if he didn't, if the OP simply moved to the RoI in order to avoid a court application, it is likely that the child would be returned under the Hague Convention, as babybarrister has explained. If there was a pending application in the Scottish courts, the child would be returned even if the father did not have PR, because the appropriate place to deal with the matter is in Scotland.
If OP wants to move to RoI, she should seek the leave of the court in order to avoid potential child abduction proceedings.

Huppopapa Mon 18-Apr-16 12:47:06

Hague is hugely relevant but I don't think it is right to tell someone that they would commit a criminal offence unless one knows that the elements of the offence are made out. Hence the question about PR.
It is also not accurate to say that the child would be returned under the Convention. Children almost always are, but we simply don't know enough to be so absolute in advising.
Your advice is probably right but it does not help the public for lawyers to make definitive statements on inadequate information.

STIDW Mon 18-Apr-16 14:58:42

I live in Scotland but to be clear I'm not a lawyer. Under the Child Abduction Act 1984, it is a criminal offence in Scotland for a person connected with a child under 16 to take or send the child out of the UK without consent if there is a court order in place dealing with the residence of a child. Even if the father has no Parental Responsibility & Rights or there is no court order he can apply to court for PRR & to prevent you from moving at least in the short term until the case has been heard.

Trying to relocate without his consent or permission from the court could complicate matters considerably , cost a fortune in legal fees & it wouldn't prevent his case for contact being heard. Indeed you might be left on the back foot if the court perceives you are trying to relocate because of hostility to contact. Unless compromise & agreement can be reached though mediation going to court & focusing on the interests of your child is the lesser of the evils.

meandmygirl1 Mon 18-Apr-16 17:32:27

Thank you. Women's Aid lawyer has offered to represent my case for free so going to be speaking with her tomorrow. She is a human rights lawyer specialising in women and young people. She is also looking at getting legal representation for my daughter as if it goes to court, the action has been served against my daughter.

She said the same as you all have. She is doing some research into the legalities of relocating within UK.

Have to submit before 28 April to sheriff and hopefully he will dismiss; otherwise am back in court.

Due to it being over 9 years since he saw my daughter, the no access court ruling in place at present and the lies he has told to get legal aid and thus heard in the first place, I hope it will be dismissed; but doubt it.

meandmygirl1 Mon 18-Apr-16 17:41:39

As an aside, is there anything else I can do to get legal aid withdrawn?

I hired private investigator who found out he was working
His address on the court papers is different from address private investigator found out
I also submitted to legal aid board that he was not paying any maintenance as thought he would have had to evidence that for income/expenditure - still he got it
He also has had legal aid for employment tribunals; and then taking the lawyer who represented him to law society complaining they had not represented him properly and looking for compensation - it's laughable the amount of public money he has had

At wits end

Thank you

babybarrister Tue 19-Apr-16 12:36:40

I agree I was a bit blunt - no it is not definite that you would be charged or convicted of child abduction or that the DD would be returned to Scotland but from what you have said it is highly likely!

As I said - have a look at the Reunite website

Collaborate Tue 19-Apr-16 15:05:11

Your advice is probably right but it does not help the public for lawyers to make definitive statements on inadequate information.

Lawyers giving up their free time to advise people requesting help on an anonymous forum? No, don't thank them. Just have a go nit picking instead. Sure, of course they can write the equivalent of a formal advice from counsel when responding to every post.


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