We reported that from 7 April, child care costs can be deducted from income for people studying outside the home.
We don’t always know why things happen in legal aid; but we now know what led to this change. Cris McCurley and the team at Ben Hoare Bell had a client who was the victim of rape. She was not able to represent herself when the man she said raped her applied for contact with their daughter.
As part of her therapy, the client undertook a university course. The fact that her child care costs were not an allowable deduction meant she was not eligible for legal aid. Ben Hoare Bell tried to negotiate with the LAA; but were told there was no flexibility. The solicitors got Counsel’s advice and sent a letter before action. At this point the LAA agreed that this client’s circumstances were exceptional, and legal aid would be granted. Earlier this week, the firm was informed that the LAA had also decided to change the rule. As Cris said ‘It really does show that we have to keep on fighting.’