Grayling reprieves RCJ advice centre

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The Ministry of Justice today announced that it will fund the family law service provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau at the Royal Courts of Justice - after its grant was removed by the Legal Services Commission as part of the ministry’s cuts.

The MoJ will provide £90,000 a year to fund the legal advice service provided by the CAB to unrepresented parties involved in family law cases at the Principal Registry of the Family Division.

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This funding will be provided from 1 April, when the provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 take effect, removing legal aid for most private law family cases, as well as social welfare law categories, including welfare benefits, housing, education and debt.

The RCJ CAB helps more than 2,000 litigants in person a year, involved in cases at the High Court and Court of Appeal as well as the Principal Registry.

In January, the LSC announced that the funding the bureau received from the Community Legal Services (CLS) grants would end, after it took the decision to end the CLS grants, saving £655,317 a year.

The money from the MoJ will cover the provision of help to those involved in family cases.

The bureau has applied for funding from the Big Lottery to help with its £175,000 costs to help parties in other types of civil cases.

Justice secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘I recognise the essential work done by the CAB at this level and am happy to support the vital advice and assistance it provides.’

Bureau chief executive Alison Lamb said: ‘The money from the MoJ has really motivated and enthused us. We’ve worked so hard and now we’ll be able to continue to meet the needs of litigants in family cases.’

She added: ‘If we hadn’t had the money, it would have jeopardised our future provision of services.’

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