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A family affair

Government reforms to legal aid will undermine our justice system—and won’t save money

By Lucy Sprinz   April 2011

Consider this scenario: a couple get divorced, and the father applies to the courts for residence (primary care) of their four children, who currently live with his ex-wife. She has a mental illness: it does not negatively affect her parenting and, with the help of a lawyer, she could demonstrate to a judge that she cares well for the children. But while her ex-husband can afford a lawyer, she cannot. So she is forced to represent herself in court. Alone, in a nervous and vulnerable state, she must face questions about her mental health from her ex-husband’s barrister, whose job…

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