Machins Solicitors LLP
Leading Solicitors in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire
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Legal Services Payment Orders

Posted: 8th February 2017   In: , Family Law - Berkhamsted, Family Law - Luton

 

What is a Legal Services Payment Order?

A Legal Services Payment Order (LSPO) is an order whereby one party is ordered to pay to the other party a sum of money to enable them to obtain legal services. For example, a working husband may be ordered to pay his non-working wife a sum of money to help her obtain representation from a solicitor that she could otherwise not afford.

When were these orders introduced?

These orders can be made under Section 22 ZA and ZB of the Matrimonial Clauses Act 1973. The power to make such an order was introduced on 1 April 2013 following the passing of The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Why are LSPO’s made within proceedings?

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 saw the withdrawal of public funding for most private family law proceedings i.e. applications of for financial remedy orders and/or child arrangements orders. This left many parties, whether applicant or respondent, without the ability to obtain legal services and led to an increase in litigants in person, and unrepresented parties.

What to consider before applying for a LSPO?

It is up to the discretion of the court as to whether or not a LSPO is made within proceedings. The factors to be considered by the court in determining an application are found in section s22ZB(1):

In order to obtain an order, the court must be satisfied that:

  1. Without the amount, the applicant would not reasonably be able to obtain appropriate legal services for the purposes of the proceedings or any part of the proceedings;
  2. The applicant is not reasonably able to secure a loan to pay for the services i.e. bank borrowing/credit cards etc; 
  3. The applicant is unlikely to be able to obtain the services by granting a charge over any assets recovered in the proceedings i.e. securing a debt on the matrimonial home or other properties.

How to make an application:

When making an application, the applicant has to complete an application form and file a supporting statement setting out, in detail, there reasons for seeking the order and evidence of their inability to obtain alternative funding.

If you require any further advice on the making of these orders, or any family related issues arising from a divorce or separation, please call us on 01442 872311 and ask to speak to a member of the family team.