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Judge warns of legal aid concerns

By Wesleyan

A decision to deny a mother legal aid risked her right to a fair trial over a dispute about her children, according to a family court judge.

Judge Louise Hallam, who was presiding over the case at the family court in Middlesbrough, wants the highest family judge in England and Wales, Sir James Munby, and legal aid officials to examine the case.

In her written analysis of the case, Judge Hallam said denying legal aid to vulnerable women could lead to injustices.

The mother, who is not named in the notes, could not get legal aid. Officials said she did not need it as she would still have "effective access" to the legal system, the judge wrote.

The woman was involved in a dispute with her former partner over their four children.

He had legal representation, as did the local council responsible for the children's welfare, but the mother did not. As it happened, they came to an agreement and there was no need for a trial.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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