According to figures published by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), legal aid work in family cases has dropped 27% compared to the same quarter last year.
The category of family legal aid covers work on both private and public law and includes work associated with the Children Act, domestic abuse, financial provision and family mediation. Figures for each category are not available for legal help matters.
Figures in the MOJs first quarterly edition of legal aid statistics, which have previously been published only annually, show that the implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) in April 2013 resulted in large reductions in legal help workload and expenditure. The figures also show a downturn in publicly funded crime cases and the remaining categories of civil work.
The report reveals that the use of family mediation has fallen since the implementation of LASPO in April 2013. However, since the 22 April 2014 changes from the Children and Families Act came into effect, making it a requirement for separating couples to attend a meeting to find out about mediation before the dispute can be taken to court (MIAMs), there has been an increase in the number of mediation assessments in April to June 2014, compared to the previous quarter, but this has yet to filter through to these quarterly statistics.