Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any legal concerns we suggest you consult a solicitor.

Desperate and asking for pro-bono legal help

(35 Posts)
Pleasecansomehelpme Fri 07-Jul-17 19:45:45

I truly can't believe it's come to this but here I am.

I need help but have no way to fund it.

My sister's son has disclosed his father has been sexually abusing him. This was 2 years ago. The police bungled the interviews, no prosecution.

The father is a complete narcissist and is now dragging my sister through the courts. After 4 hearings we have to go to fact finding which is 5 full days. We're already £17000 down on credit cards. We have no more money.

Please - if you are a family solicitor or barrister who can help keep my nephew safe and work for free I don't know how we'd repay you.

We just can't believe we've got here.

So sorry for begging. There just no other choice now.

shinyshiner Fri 07-Jul-17 20:07:35

Have you tried the Bar Pro Bono Unit? They need a certain amount of time before a hearing - I can't remember how long, but might be able to help.

shinyshiner Fri 07-Jul-17 20:08:09

They might be able to help - sorry that was worded confusingly. I'm not a legal person.

Pleasecansomehelpme Fri 07-Jul-17 20:10:14

I'm onto them on Monday but they need at least three weeks and we don't have that amount of time. I suppose I could ask for a postponement.

Thank you.

familylawsolicitor Fri 07-Jul-17 20:11:14

YY to pro bono unit. You'll need to be referred by a third party - lawyer or legal advice clinic. Where in the country is the hearing?

Familylawsolicitor Fri 07-Jul-17 20:11:53

When is hearing?

user1497480444 Fri 07-Jul-17 20:15:22

What is your sister being taken to court for? If it is shared custody, surely social services would be able to prevent that being awarded?

Pleasecansomehelpme Fri 07-Jul-17 20:27:42

Familylawsolicitor - the hearing date isn't out yet but several submissions and statements and transcripts have to be submitted by end July. It's in London

User - I cannot begin to go through this nonsense. SS aren't involved as they are satisfied he's safe with my sister. I honestly don't know how this country is supposed to work. Ex says that because there's no proof my sister made it up to be vindictive. The barrister we can no longer afford said that it's the most complex private law case she's seen in years.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Fri 07-Jul-17 21:14:16

It sounds like you might have enough time for bar pro bono. They don't usually do more than 3 day hearings though. It's right that you can't self refer but cab/law centres can refer you. Your old solicitor might also be able to refer you.

Familylawsolicitor Sat 08-Jul-17 02:58:06

Am confused as you said you didn't have three weeks in reference to the bar pro bono unit and now that hearing date is not set.
Do you mean that it is less than 3 weeks before you file your evidence? The bar pro bono unit won't help with that so you will need to crack on with filing. What is the concern with regards to filing the evidence without legal advice?

Is your sister ineligible financially for legal aid? As if the issue was lack of proof of DV then she might be able to apply for exceptional legal aid.

London as good as far more pro bono help there. Have you been in touch with the RCJ CAB?
They can assist with a pro bono referral for you.

babybarrister Sat 08-Jul-17 08:20:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pleasecansomehelpme Sun 09-Jul-17 17:07:31

Familylaw- we have to file some paperwork in the next 3 weeks (but less now) and probono bar says they can't help if there are any deadlines within 3 weeks.

The DV was over 5 years ago do not eligible.

However, I have read that if a case is sufficiently complex, lack of assistance with representation could constitute a breach of human rights.

I'll try again for legal aid first thing tomorrow morning.

Pleasecansomehelpme Wed 09-Aug-17 09:58:41

Following on from my original post, we have had so much conflicting advise that we're really at the end of our tether.

Can anyone who really knows tell me the following:

1. How I can find a solicitor who can help with the application for EXCEPTIONAL legal aid - all the solicitors I've approached seem to either know nothing about it or be unwilling to assist.

2. If there any family law practices who offer pro-bono assistance and how I should approach them.

I have asked to be referred to the Bar Pro-Bono service but because there are deadlines all the time for statements etc it looks like it's going to be refused.

This is utterly exhausting. I'm 11 weeks pregnant, sick, my sister and I are both broke and we're terrified. I feel like the system has let us down really badly.

babybarrister Wed 09-Aug-17 10:12:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pleasecansomehelpme Wed 09-Aug-17 10:32:25

There is absolutely no way my sister is able to represent herself effectively. We are being referred to Bar ProBono and I'm hoping that we will be accepted but obviously that isn't a certainty.

And whilst I understand it's difficult, I need someone to assist with the application and no one seems to be able to. I feel like I'm just going round in circles.

Familylawsolicitor Wed 09-Aug-17 14:01:05

The public law project has useful information and may be able to refer you to an organisation that can help with an application for exceptional legal aid. It's very difficult to get. I've successfully applied for one and tbh I would never do it again as I didn't get paid for the 20 hours it took to do the application.

Familylawsolicitor Wed 09-Aug-17 14:01:18

babybarrister Wed 09-Aug-17 21:22:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lucysky2017 Wed 09-Aug-17 22:21:38

Presumably the father wants some contact or more contact or residence. Could your sister agree limited contact starting with supervised contact with a grand parent present?

Pleasecansomehelpme Wed 09-Aug-17 22:54:30

Babybarrister - current barrister has suggested pro bono unit and law society - isn't willing to do pro bono herself.

Familylaw - thank you for that link - I will look into it further.

Lucy - I can't really divulge much but father was residence.

Familylawsolicitor Wed 09-Aug-17 23:06:41

The PLP page suggests they may be able to refer your sister to Rights of Women to assist with an ECF application, Rights of Women is also an excellent organisation to get in touch with for direct assistance.

Pleasecansomehelpme Thu 10-Aug-17 07:16:06

Thank you Family - I will contact them today.

Lucysky2017 Thu 10-Aug-17 07:42:54

Yes, best not to divulge much. I hope your sister finds the help needed. If the father has residence and yet is still making an application it sounds quite urgent as the longer the norm for the children is living with him the harder to change that status quo and their norm.

lilyfire Thu 10-Aug-17 08:20:12

Has your sister asked the court whether it will make a rule 16.2 direction for her son to be made a party to the case? The court would then appoint a guardian who would appoint a solicitor. They would be able to test the evidence in a fact finding case - although would have different parameters to your sister so obviously not the same as her being represented. If the case is so complicated the court may well be prepared to make the direction.

Pleasecansomehelpme Thu 10-Aug-17 08:54:17

Sorry Lucy - father 'wants' residence. He's never had it.

Lily - court has appointed a guardian at our Barrister's request.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: