The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) tells us that 2 out of 3 people with a legal problem do not seek the support of a solicitor. The SRA would like to see a more innovative legal market which better serves the needs of clients.
Increasingly, legal advice and representation is becoming the privilege of the rich with universal access to justice no longer a cornerstone of our legal system. Since 1 April 2013 when the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 took many private law children and family cases out of scope for legal aid, the situation only worsened as 80% of all new family court cases had at least one party who did not have legal representation – a Litigant in Person or LiP (Source: House of Commons Briefing Papers). The family court continues to see LiPs in at least 50% of new cases. Courts are struggling with the considerable number of LiPs they now see and this causes unacceptable delays to family law cases as well as inconsistency as judges can no longer guarantee to see the same case through to final hearing.
At Cambridge Family Matters, we do not believe that access to justice ought to present the stark choice between the high hourly billing rates of solicitors and self-representation. We would like to try to improve that situation by seeking to reduce costs of legal support where appropriate.
In response to the changes to the regulation of legal services of the past few years, we seek to offer a more cost effective and innovative approach to family or separation matters. Cambridge Family Matters offers McKenzie Friend legal support*, working with the Solicitors Regulation Authority to offer the same quality of legal services you would expect from a law firm but at more competitive rates. Cambridge Family Matters is working towards being fully authorised and regulated by the SRA.