LAWYERS who successfully represented a former teacher against her politician ex-husband have said yesterday that legal aid cuts would have meant their client was unable to obtain justice.
The family court found last week that Matthew Kyeremeh, a councillor on Croydon Borough Council, “opportunistically and fraudulently” deprived his mentally ill ex-wife Angela of assets she might have been awarded in a divorce court.
Ms Kyeremeh accused Mr Kyeremeh of “fleecing her of assets” when she was mentally ill and left her “homeless and destitute” and “living rough in a park.”
Her representatives said she had been able to obtain legal aid when proceedings began but that the brutal Tory reforms to the system meant that such support was no longer available to litigants in Ms Kyeremeh’s position.
“Justice was only capable of being achieved by virtue of legal aid for which Ms Kyeremeh was eligible when the proceedings started in 2013,” said solicitor Ffion Greenfield of law firm Fisher Meredith, who represented Ms Kyeremeh.
“Legal aid is no longer available for litigants in her situation, leaving many vulnerable people unrepresented in such difficult, complex and unfair circumstances.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman defended the reforms, claiming that legal aid in Britain remained among the “most generous in the world.”
Family Court Judge Delia Coonan was asked to make decisions on a preliminary issue relating to allegations that Ms Kyeremeh had been deprived of access to assets by her former husband.
He disputed the claims, but Ms Coonan concluded that there had been “significant financial misconduct” by Mr Kyeremeh.