Students and trainees may be brought in to ”hold the hands” of divorcing couples in a government attempt to plug the legal aid gap.
The Times reports that justice minister Simon Hughes is considering piloting a network of advice centres manned by students, who would provide assistance to people going into court on their own.
Around half of divorcing couples are not eligible for legal aid and are unrepresented in court.
Among the other changes planned in a major shake-up of the justice system are sessions for divorcing couples which provide information on how to settle their disputes out of court. These would be compulsory before couples can proceed to court.
Students have already stepped in to plug the justice gap. The first ever instance of asylum in Britain being secured on grounds of atheism was dealt with by a law student in Kent Law Clinic (14 January 2014). Among other initiatives, SOAS students signed up to a minimum six-month term supporting Camden’s “most vulnerable residents”, while BPP’s clinic began catering for Londoners unable to access legal advice.