Accessing legal aid is no longer a viable option in family litigation, and litigating in person is far from ideal. So, what are the other options available?
You can take out a bank loan or credit card, though these loans can be limited to relatively low borrowing limits and credit cards will often involve high rates of compound interest.
You can apply for a Legal Services Order where the other party must pay your legal costs, though this can be costly, cause delays to the case and the resulting judgement may not cover you fully.
You can obtain a loan from a friend or family member, though this must be dealt with carefully – if it appears as a soft loan on the asset schedule, a judge may not take it into account when assessing the division of assets.
Some solicitors will still offer a Sears Tooth Agreement – this is where the client assigns the financial settlement to the solicitor, who is then reimbursed for legal fees from this fund before passing it on to the client. However, this means paying Counsel’s fees plus other disbursements, and is risky for the solicitor.
Mostly, these options aren’t ideal, and as a result, the role of litigation finance providers has increasingly grown in recent years.
Litigation funding is a way of enabling clients to cover their legal fees and related disbursements such as Counsel or expert fees when they have no immediate access to liquid funds. The loan will be repaid from the client’s divorce settlement at the conclusion of the case.
Level is one potential funding option and you should explore other options to ensure you choose the most suitable solution for you.