Family lawyers group Resolution has joined forces with Iceberg Client Credit to offer loans to help separating couples fund cases.
Incoming chair Jo Edwards (pictured) announced the tie-up in her inaugural speech today.
The service, exclusive to Resolution members, will provide clients with access to an unsecured loan at preferential rates, which is paid back after a case is settled.
While other loan products are available to help fund proceedings, this is claimed to be the first of its kind to be offered on such a scale. It is aimed chiefly at clients on low to medium incomes, who may not otherwise have access to finance until after the terms of their separation are finalised.
Historically, client loan products have mainly been available for high-value/high cost cases.
The announcement comes a year after the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act removed legal aid for the majority of private family law cases, leaving many on low to middle incomes unable to afford legal advice.
The loans are also being promoted as supporting family lawyers, allowing them to aid clients without an adverse impact on firms’ cashflow, and at minimal risk.
Said Edwards: ‘These are times of unprecedented change for family lawyers and firms of all sizes are watching their cashflow more closely than ever. This will help our members to help more people – something we’re all keen to do, but has become more challenging since the cuts to family legal aid just over a year ago.’
Nick Sanders, partner at Iceberg Client Credit, said: ‘We believe this service will be hugely beneficial and attractive for those clients with a limited income, as they will have no application fees and the loan is unsecured, meaning there is no risk to any other assets they hold.
‘It also means the risk to Resolution members is minimised, as they can insure against any shortfall in the settlement value as compared with costs.
‘Plus the service will be straightforward to access, with each member provided with a dedicated secure online homepage to manage all aspects of their clients’ loans.’
A Law Society spokesperson said: ‘Any initiative which helps solicitors to make their services more accessible to potential clients in the wake of legal aid cuts is welcome.’