Funding—legal services orders and costs allowances
Funding—legal services orders and costs allowances

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Funding—legal services orders and costs allowances
  • Definition of legal services
  • Court's approach
  • Scope of the order
  • Procedure
  • Variation
  • Case law
  • Wider proceedings

Sections 49–54 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPOA 2012) introduced changes to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) and the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004) allowing the court to order a party to make payment to their spouse/civil partner for their legal costs known as an order in respect of legal services or a legal services order, also referred to in case law as a legal services payment order. This type of order will be available in proceedings for divorce/dissolution/(judicial) separation and in connected financial remedy proceedings. The new provisions set out the circumstances in which such an order may be made and the factors which the court must take into account. The provisions came into force on 1 April 2013.

MCA 1973, s 22ZA(2) states that, ‘The court may also make such an order or orders in proceedings under this Part for financial relief in connection with proceedings for divorce, nullity of marriage or judicial separation.’ However, the term ‘financial relief’ is not defined in MCA 1973 (or CPA 2004).

Under the statutory provisions in MCA 1973 and CPA 2004, such orders are not available in relation to proceedings under Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989), the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and Part III of the