The Family Advice Scheme (FAS) was set up to assist those who need assistance in the family courts following the cuts to public funding for virtually all private law cases, bar those involving domestic violence. We use our own method of financial assessment which is distinct to that used by Legal Aid, because FAS is not a publicly funded body.
FAS operates at the West London Family Court on FHDRA days, and provides free representation to those with hearings on the day, provided that person has not received assistance from us previously. To access assistance on the day of your hearing, ask the usher if FAS advisers are available or go to consultation room 2 to check for yourself if an adviser is available. We do our utmost to help as many people as we can on the day, but the help we can provide is limited by the number of advisers available, the time available, and most importantly how long each case takes. What help you receive may also depend on how complicated your hearing is likely to be – with those with very complicated hearings being given the most help for obvious reasons.
If you have received assistance from us at court previously, you will need to undergo a financial assessment to enable us to assess whether you meet our criteria for further free assistance.
You can also book in advance to have a financial assessment carried out. In general, we do not provide advice at this appointment as it is to check whether you meet our criteria for some pro bono assistance.
Pro bono assistance is provided on the basis of availability of advisers first and foremost, and then on the basis of the client meeting our financial criteria. If we think you might be entitled to legal aid, we will advise you to seek the assistance of a solicitor who can make a legal aid application for you. We do not provide pro bono assistance for those who could claim legal aid. We do not provide pro bono assistance for divorce or financial matters.
All our pro bono assistance costs are met by the company – we are not reimbursed by the public purse, and therefore will not assist those who are entitled to public assistance in the form of legal aid.
If you would like to book a financial assessment appointment, or find out if we will be in court on the day of your hearing, please contact us.