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Frequently Asked Questions

What to Do if You Can’t Afford Legal Fees

Knowing what your options are if you can’t afford legal fees is a major help in planning for your future during what will be an emotionally turbulent and frightening time for many women. Affordable Justice was established with a simple premise – to provide affordable family law services to women who cannot afford normal commercial rates without compromising on the quality of the service they receive.

Affordable Justice’s low-cost solicitors are high-return experts, delivering a 96 per cent success rate on all our cases. Our FAQs below will cover many of the questions you may have, but if you have any more, then drop us a line through our online enquiry form, and we’ll get back to you.

We understand that many of you may be in sensitive situations, so make sure you let us know the best and safest way to contact you.

Q. Do you offer free half-hour initial appointments?

As a non-profit making law firm, we keep our prices as low as possible.  Our rates are typically less than a third of other law firms.  As such, we can’t offer free appointments as this would mean that we would have to increase our hourly rates, which would make things more expensive for everyone.

Q. Can you get Legal Aid for family law issues?

In 2013, Legal Aid was severely cut back, which left many women struggling to find effective legal representation when trying to escape from damaging and dangerous relationships. We provide affordable legal advice, but we DO NOT offer advice and representation under Legal Aid.  Whilst you may be entitled to Legal Aid, depending upon your personal circumstances, Affordable Justice is set up specifically for women who cannot access Legal Aid and need an affordable alternative.

If you are entitled to Legal Aid, we recommend you make enquiries with a law firm that has a Legal Aid contract and will be able to help you.

Q. Why do you only offer legal services to women?

We are a non-profit making law firm based at the Preston Road Women’s Centre in Hull.  We opened as a direct result of the huge cuts to Legal Aid eligibility, which had a severe impact on women accessing family law services, who depend on Legal Aid much more than men do. We are also a registered charity, and for all these reasons, we only offer legal help for women.

Q. Do you offer services to women in the Hull/East Yorkshire area only?

No – we provide advice and assistance to women who live anywhere in England and Wales. To date, we have supported women across England and Wales. While our head office is in Hull, and we hold face-to-face consultations in our Preston Road offices, we are operating more and more through offering online legal advice and are actively recruiting more family law specialists throughout the UK.

Q. I am not able/don’t want to meet in person. Can I have appointments with you without having to come into your office?

Yes, we offer appointments remotely – either by telephone or video calls such as Zoom. If you require remote legal advice, no matter where you are in England or Wales, simply fill in the form here to make an appointment.

Q. I have young children in my care and do not have anyone to look after them.  Can they be present during my appointment?

We have a policy that means that we are not able to speak to clients about sensitive issues whilst there are children present, including when appointments take place remotely.  However, we do have a purpose-built nursery located in our building, and subject to availability, we can offer a free creche during your appointments with us.

If you have a remote appointment with us, we can offer appointments later in the day when your children are in bed.  This should ensure that you can speak freely with us without worrying about your children overhearing anything that you want to discuss with us.

Q. My situation is very complex.  Can you arrange for a barrister to represent me in court?

Can a barrister represent you in court? Yes, absolutely – we frequently arrange for a barrister to represent our clients when their situation is complicated or the hearing is lengthy.  We have established relationships with various chambers in your local area. To arrange for you to be represented by a barrister, we usually obtain the availability and cost estimates of any suitable and available barristers and send these to you so that you can consider your options and confirm which barrister you would prefer to work with.  We would then require you to pay the relevant fee to us to enable us to book the barrister and prepare a detailed brief for them.

Please note that where a barrister is instructed on your behalf, we would generally not take part in any court hearings where you are represented by them. It is, therefore, important that you make your instructions to the barrister extremely clear, that you are fully aware and understanding of the outcome of any hearing, and that you carefully record any important dates, actions, and agreements.

Q. Can I enter into a payment plan to pay you for my legal fees?

As non-profit making, affordable solicitors, we do require payment upfront for your initial appointment and work you have instructed us to undertake, such as corresponding with your ex-partner/ the court.

However, if you then opt for us to undertake further work on your behalf at some point in the future – for example, if you instruct us to represent you at a hearing in, say, two months’ time or to prepare an application to the Court in six weeks’ time, you can provide us with regular payments (e.g. weekly payments) up to the date that further work is required on your behalf. We assess this on a case-by-case basis.

Q. This is my first time seeking online legal advice, and I feel anxious because I don’t understand the process. Will you explain it to me?

Many women come to us because they do not feel comfortable with traditional law firms. We know approaching a solicitor can be a daunting and costly process. Our staff will always make sure you are welcomed and informed and answer your questions clearly and to the best of our ability.

Q. I am not confident in my English. Can you provide an interpreter?

Yes, we use interpreters where your first language is not English. Where the use of an interpreter means that the consultation is longer than it would usually be, we can potentially discount our service so that you are not charged more than a woman whose first language is English.