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Legal aid lawyers not as good?(8 Posts)
Feeling a bit down and maybe oversensitive.
Left a violent relationship recently. Was advised to apply for non molestation order. Given a charity number for help with the application. They refused to help. Told me I wasn't eligible for legal aid because it was more than a few weeks since I'd seen my ex. He's continuing to make threats. That's why I was advised to make the application.
I got more confused after calling several solicitors. All the legal aid ones told me I was eligible afterall but they also all told me different things about the process. One really panicked me by saying I'd be eligible for costs if he contested it and won. I think he wouldn't win or even contest it but don't know for certain.
The only solicitors who seemed to get my situation and who seemed to know about the process were private ones who don't do legal aid. I lost confidence in the system and didn't go ahead but still feel upset about the experience especially with the charity who told me I wasn't eligible for their help. I don't understand why when other places said I was. Also I've seen people advise other posters to apply for occupation orders but every solicitor I spoke to said these were very rare.
I still may need to apply for the non molestation and don't know what to do. Are legal aid solicitors not as good or was my experiences just bad luck? I want someone who knows what they're doing. Some of the legal aid ones I spoke to got basic legal info wrong. I have almost no money but is it worth paying a private solicitor?
I’m sorry to hear about your situation.
I am a trainee family law solicitor, legal aid solicitors are just as competent as private solicitors - there actually the same thing. We provide legal aid and private work.
Each solicitor (if registered to practice in England and Wales) has a duty of care to you and act in your best interests.
I’m sorry it hasn’t gotten off to a good start, but there will be a legal aid solicitor that will be able to help and get it sorted out.
Take care x
I’ve worked in law firms for over 20 years and the most fantastic, impressive solicitor I’ve ever worked with is a legal aid solicitor. If you’d like her details PM me.
I’m also a legal aid family solicitor and I can second that we work very hard indeed and in cases of domestic abuse we are specialised and expert whether the client is legally aided or privately paying. It makes no difference at all.
You might have just spoken to inexperienced people but I would say that to be successful in an application for a non molestation order there needs to be evidence of recent abusive behaviour otherwise it might fail. I’ve done thousands of non molestation order applications for about 18 years and in that time only once has a costs order been made against my client. That was because she was completely unreasonable and not following advice, so I wouldn’t worry about that aspect of it too much.
As @username501 said: you actually don’t need a lawyer to apply for a non-molestation order, though it can be helpful to have their support for drafting your statement. Speak to the National Centre for Domestic Violence and they will be able to advise you on the process and may also be able to put you in touch with a lawyer who will help you draft your papers for free.
PS - Legal Aid lawyers are often extremely good and extremely committed. The amounts they get paid on Legal Aid rates don’t begin to reflect the work they do.
I'm sorry if I offended anyone. I was wrong. I've spoken to another legal aid lawyer who seemed to really understand.
I'm still upset and confused because of all the conflicting advice I've been given. Every solicitor has said something different. I've spent so much time getting confused and ringing around that it's probably too late to go for an emergency order.
I rang NCDV but it was a man who called me back. I didn't feel comfortable so left it. DV assist were the charity who wouldn't help me. I don't know if it's unfair of me but they also had a man call me and it again felt uncomfortable. He told me a judge wouldn't grant an order because I haven't seen my ex for a while. He said the recent telephone death threats wouldn't matter and I should just block him. My ex has the legal right to walk in to the home we shared at any time but as there's no recent physical evidence he said there's nothing I can do.
The latest legal aid solicitor I spoke to said I would probably get an order based on the history and previous evidence but I think I've lost the strength to go for it. Feel panicked about my ex reading the statement too.
Sorry for saying legal aid wasn't as good. Private and legal aid seen mixed in how good they are. The last legal aid one I spoke to sounded great. I've got her number if I need to do anything.
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