Taylor&Emmet urges MP to fight for family law

Sheffield’s Taylor&Emmet LLP is calling on its local MP to help tackle shortfalls in the justice system affecting domestic abuse victims and separating couples.

Sheffield’s Taylor&Emmet LLP is calling on its local MP to help tackle shortfalls in the justice system affecting domestic abuse victims and separating couples.

Head of family law, Michaela Heathcote and partner, Lucy Rodgers, welcomed Sheffield Central MP, Paul Blomfield, to the firm’s Arundel Gate office to lobby on behalf of clients.

Mr Blomfield works closely with South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and was particularly interested in Taylor&Emmet’s concerns that frontline officers are unaware of the services offered locally to those who need a family injunction.

Lucy Rodgers, Taylor&Emmet’s Legal Aid specialist, said: “Sheffield’s family law experts work together to help those suffering from domestic abuse, yet the police do not refer to us. We want to ensure clients receive advice from professionals who understand the limitations of Legal Aid and are on hand to offer practical support.”

The issue of Legal Aid and its withdrawal in 2013 led to discussion about the rise in litigants in person in the family court and the pressures this has placed on the system. Lucy added: “Huge delays are resulting from increasing numbers of people attempting to represent themselves in court. Mr Blomfield had raised the issue in Parliament, but was keen to hear how our clients are being personally affected. In our opinion, justice delayed is justice denied.”

Taylor&Emmet’s meeting also aimed to highlight two campaigns led by family law champions, Resolution, concerning the lack of legal rights for unmarried couples and calls to introduce no fault divorce.

Michaela Heathcote concluded: “Family law has not kept pace with society and despite cohabitation being perfectly acceptable, the financially weaker party can be left vulnerable upon separation. Likewise, the legal need for a couple to attribute blame to a divorce makes it harder to reach an agreement. We need the support of our parliamentarians if we are to bring about regulatory change and we were very grateful to Mr Blomfield for his interest in these issues.”

For more information about the family law services offered by Taylor&Emmet, telephone (0114) 218 4000, visit www.tayloremmet.co.uk or follow the firm on Twitter, @tayloremmet.