Hexham Solicitors
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MarstonHarbottle, Solicitors
Orchard House
Northumberland, NE46 1PQ
Tel: 01434 602486
Fax: 01434 600229


Community Legal ServicesUntil January 2000, if you were financially eligible, you could go to any firm of solicitors and be granted legal aid or legal help. The problem with this approach was that it meant that solicitors who did not have the necessary know-how, experience or specialism could provide you with advice or representation which was not necessarily the best. The government realised that this was not an effective way of spending the very limited funds which are made available for legal aid, and so changed the system so that the only firms who can now offer legal aid or legal help are those firms who have been Quality Assured by the Legal Services Commission and who have to produce work to an extremely high standard.

MarstonHarbottle have held a franchise in matrimonial/family work since June 1977. In January 2000, we were granted a contract enabling us to be able to offer Legal Help to the public and to carry out certificated legal aid work.

Legal Help/Legal Aid
You may qualify for Legal Help/Legal Aid to assist you with your legal costs for private family law matters, for example, divorce, dissolution of civil partnership, property, finance and children matters where there is evidence of domestic abuse or child abuse. Domestic violence or abuse covers psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse. In addition, you would need to be financially eligible, for example, if you are in receipt of certain State benefits or a low income and have limited capital. In addition to that, the Legal Aid Agency must consider that the merits of your case warrant the provision of Legal Aid. In some circumstances you may be asked to pay a contribution to your Legal Aid.

The situation is different if you wish to receive advice in relation to Children's Services being involved with your family, the Local Authority issuing Care proceedings, Child Abduction or if you are seeking protection from abuse or harassment. In these circumstances, you do not have to show evidence that you or your children are victims of abuse. In some circumstances Legal Aid for this area of the law is means tested and in some circumstances it is not.

If you wish to find out whether or not you may be eligible for Legal Aid in relation to any family matter, please contact our office and we will carry out a calculation on your behalf.

£50 Fixed Fee Interview
In an effort to diagnose a legal problem, we operate a £50 Fixed Fee Interview Scheme. Under this scheme, you can see a solicitor for up for 30 minutes, who can advise you as to whether or not you have a case that is worth proceeding with, for a fee of £50, inclusive of VAT. This payment simply covers that legal advice - if you want additional work carried out, we would charge you at our usual rates. Should you be eligible for Legal Help as detailed above, we would claim our costs under that scheme and not charge £50 for the Fixed Fee Interview.

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