Family Legal Aid

Changes to Include Special Guardianship Orders

Changes to Family Legal Aid

Katie Knight (paralegal)

Katie Knight of our Family Department considers the recent changes to Family Legal Aid.

Means and Merits tested Legal Aid and Non-Means Non-Merits tested Legal Aid

When considering applications for public funding there are two types of legal aid applications.

The first is means and merits tested legal aid. These applications include a detailed assessment of income and capital and the merits of bringing/resisting orders sought. The most common types of legal aid applied for on a means and merits tested basis is for private law disputes between parents and others who hold parental responsibility for a child and within domestic abuse proceedings.

The second is non-means and non-merits tested legal aid. These applications bypass any assessment of income and any assessment of the merits in their case. The most common type of legal aid applied for on a non-means and non-merits tested basis is for public law proceedings where a local authority has made an application to the Court for a Care or Supervision Order. In these types of proceedings, Legal Aid is available despite income and despite the merits in resisting the orders sought.

Private Law Changes

As of 1 May 2023, Family Legal Aid has been extended to include Special Guardianship Orders for both those with parental responsibilities and prospective guardians. This extension applies to:

  • Prospective Guardians making applications for Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) in private family law proceedings
  • Anyone with parental responsibilities when responding to applications for SGOs

A Special Guardianship Order is an order which appoints one or more individuals to be a child’s ‘special guardian’. This enables the ‘special guardian’ to have parental responsibility for a child until they are 18 years old. This change enables individuals to obtain legal aid for SGOs.

Get In Touch

Charles Strachan Solicitors appreciate that legal proceedings can be stressful for parents and those with parental responsibility for children. We have a dedicated family law and children’s team that can assist with a wide scope of legal issues. If you require advice about any family or children law issue, please contact our offices on 0121 704 3311 /

Our family team will be able to discuss your eligibility for legal aid.