|Sir James Munby P|
The legal aid regime currently in place for "public law" family cases has this, to say the least, highly bizarre effect:
A parent whose child is subject to an application for a care order under Children Act 1989 s.31 is automatically entitled to legal aid, irrespective of means. Not so a parent whose child is living at home under a care order and who wishes to challenge a local authority's proposal to remove the child.
Here are two parents who are beset by problems and face the possibility of their child being adopted. They do not qualify for legal aid and lawyers have acted for them without remuneration (pro bono).
The President of the Family Division (Sir James Munby) has handed down a very robust judgment - Re D (A Child)  EWFC 39. Please read it in full. He said [para 3]:
'What I have to grapple with is the profoundly disturbing fact that the parents do not qualify for legal aid but lack the financial resources to pay for legal representation in circumstances where, to speak plainly, it is unthinkable that they should have to face the local authority's application without proper representation.' [My emphasis].