The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) have stated that family therapy is a useful option for the courts to use in certain situations and should be encouraged for appropriate cases. The costs of family therapy ordered by the courts have been met under grants of civil legal aid since June 2016 under Regulation 21 of the Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Regulations 2002.
SLAB have recently carried out a required review of this use of civil legal aid and now say that it will continue to be available to meet the costs of family therapy. Their full guidance on what is needed in any sanction application can be found in the Civil Handbook.
This guidance states that “Where therapy is ordered SLAB expects parties to engage fully with the process. We would remind you that if a party who is getting legal aid does not comply with court orders or take part in work ordered by the court in a meaningful way then we look at whether their grant of legal aid should continue. If your client does not comply fully with such an order you need to tell us about it.”
FNF Scotland views this support of family therapy as a far more constructive approach to family conflict in court than continued adversarial proceedings. We look forward to more contact disputes being settled in this way. We also hope that family therapy for child contact cases will become more widely available across Scotland.