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LEGAL AID DECISIONS ARE NOT THE MOST NUTRITIOUS!

A recent case has highlighted, the injustice bordering on madness, of restricted Legal Aid.

A couple who had erroneously been granted a divorce by a District Judge, both got married to new partners, only to find themselves ‘branded as bigamists’. The Court’s administrative error, was due to the fact that the hapless District Judge had failed to spot that the couple could not rely on ‘2 years separation’, as a Ground for divorce, because they had only been married to each other for 22 months!

When the wife tried to apply for Legal Aid in order to address the Court’s error, she found herself effectively ‘abandoned by the State’ because Legal Aid was not available. She was therefore directed to the ‘Exceptional Case Funding’ route which allows Legal Aid to be granted if there are issues which attract the ‘wider public interest’. However ECF still requires the means test to be satisfied, which the wife failed on the basis she had an available net monthly income of £625.87 and her aggregate income exceeded the limit by £37.

The High Court Judge who dealt with the case was so astonished that these figures should justify a refusal for legal aid that he described the decision as being one that was  ‘unnourished by sense’. To be honest if common sense in legal aid officials was a requirement before we could be fed, we’d all die from malnutrition!

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