Helping low-income families to find solutions: how Law for Life and Resolution work together on the Affordable Advice service

Since 2020, Resolution has been working with public legal education charity, Law for Life, to support low-income families through the Affordable Advice service. This innovative service offers families a cost-effective blend of step-by-step guidance from Advicenow and fixed-fee, unbundled legal advice from a dedicated panel of Resolution family lawyers. The service is designed to help litigants in person (or people who would otherwise be LiPs) dealing with financial remedy and child arrangements difficulties, who don’t access the legal advice they need because of the high cost. As we all know, of course, people in such circumstances often end up paying the price in other ways.

Through Advicenow, Law for Life’s award-winning legal help website, we seek to support those who cannot afford a solicitor or to access an adviser to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills needed to understand and deal with the legal problems that affect their lives.

We were delighted to discover, through evaluations of the first two and a half years of the Affordable Advice service, that providing this pathway to Resolution family lawyers has provided a significant boost to the legal capability of those who have used it: 90% of service users reported that using the service helped them to feel more confident, 90% said it helped them decide to do something differently, and 82% said it helped them make their case better. Some 82% said using the service also reduced their stress.

Prices for appointments through the Affordable Advice service vary depending on the subject and how long the appointment is expected to take, but most are £100 plus VAT (based on the expectation that it will require up to half an hour of preparation, and an appointment of up to an hour).

Family lawyers on the panel tell us they enjoy taking part in the service (indeed, very few have ever left!), that they value the chance to advise a different type of client, that it slots in easily around their other work, and that they are motivated by improving access to justice for those on low incomes.

The service is even more popular with those who use it: 98% say they would recommend the service to others, and 82% say they would approach that lawyer for future family law problems.

Whilst anyone who has read the relevant Advicenow guides can request an appointment, the majority of people who have used the service are from low-income, working households: 83% said they either would not have sought advice without the service or were unsure whether they would have, because of costs – 75% also reported they could not have afforded to pay any more for the advice.

The service is particularly helpful for those representing themselves when the other side can afford legal representation, levelling the playing field somewhat and making a significant difference, particularly to financial outcomes.

Predictably, more people use the service for help with financial arrangements than child arrangements (64% and 28% respectively; 6% received help with both), and we are keen to reach more low-income households struggling with child arrangements. The service is still beyond the reach of those on very low wages or benefits, and high-conflict cases about children tend to involve parents in this income category. We therefore continue to seek ways to subsidise some or all or the cost (without financially disadvantaging panel solicitors) for those on a very low income.

We were pleased to see the government recognise the value of early legal advice in their recently announced pilot scheme and we await further details of this with interest; but it is clear from our experience and evaluation that this model could provide the basis for a way forward.

Demand for the service continues to increase and we are keen to grow the panel. If you might like to get involved or just want to find out more, please email Please do also bear us in mind as somewhere to signpost LiPs you are unable to help. For more details on how the service works, see the short guide aimed at LiPs on the Advicenow website, Getting affordable advice from a family solicitor via Advicenow.