PH v AH: FD 9 May 2016

In this action for the return of a child alleged to have been removed to this country, Holman J dicussed the inequality of the availability of legal aid to the parties: ‘Let me say at once that if the mother had been present today, the fact that she has still not obtained legal aid would not weigh with me at all. As I have said in other reported judgments, I personally regard it as grave, if not scandalous, that in applications under the Hague Convention non means tested publicly funded legal aid is automatically made available for applicants, but not for respondents. It is indeed difficult for respondents to obtain legal aid in relation to these cases, and increasingly they appear in person. I regard that as highly undesirable, and indeed a denial of the essential ingredient of a fair trial of equality of arms. But that is the position that has now been reached in this country. It is the policy ultimately of the government, and that being so, it would not have weighed with me that the mother was having to represent herself, if indeed she was present. One simply cannot go on and on and on adjourning applications under the Hague Convention on the off chance that at some later date a respondent parent may obtain some form of legal aid or legal representation.’

Holman J
[2016] EWHC 1131 (Fam)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRe B (Litigants In Person: Timely Service of Documents) FD 30-Sep-2016
Respect for litigants in person – proper service
The court considered the situation where in an international child abduction application, papers were served at the door of the court on a party who was unrepresented, and who had little English.
Held: This was plainly wrong. In such cases it . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Legal Aid

Updated: 16 January 2022; Ref: scu.564507