Parents with learning difficulties may face the same struggle Withy King Lawyer Rebecca Stevens’ pro bono clients are facing in the future if changes aren’t made in the family legal aid process, according to Sir James Munby.
He had praised Stevens’ pro bono efforts to help the family having worked 100 hours on the case.
The parents’ child is about to be adopted because of their learning difficulties. However, the same difficulties prevent them from earning legal aid from the government to introduce transparency in the case.
The child was removed from his parents in April 2014. Legal aid has been granted to the parents in December. However, funding for the final hearing for February 2015 is yet to be given.
According to the Legal Aid Agency, the lack of correct information provided was the source of delay. Stevens argues that the nature of the application process puts clients similar to hers in a situation where they have to struggle to obtain legal funding.
“A disproportionate amount of parents with learning difficulties face the prospect of losing their child through care proceedings because they do not have the ability to apply for funding or the means to defend themselves,” she said.