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Government loosens restrictions imposed on domestic abuse victims following Law Society lobbying
Sep 29, 2018, 22:12 PM
family law, domestic violence, legal aid, law society
The Government has loosened restrictions imposed on victims of domestic abuse which were preventing them from accessing legal aid in family cases, even when it was accepted by the Government that a victim had suffered violence.
The Government has
loosened restrictions imposed on victims of domestic abuse which were preventing
them from accessing legal aid in family cases, even when it was accepted by the
Government that a victim had suffered violence.
Domestic abuse victims
currently have to provide evidence that abuse had taken place within the last
twenty-four months in order to qualify for legal aid. A technical rule meant
that when cases reach a final hearing, the plug was pulled on some victims in
the middle of their case, because the evidence was now considered to be “out of
The change follows
intense lobbying by the Law Society and other practitioner groups and means that
victims of domestic violence are no longer at risk of being left stranded at the
door of the Court without the support they need to get justice in order to help
break free from an abusive relationship.
Commenting on today’s
announcement, Law Society President Andrew Caplen said:
'Legal aid is a lifeline
for victims of abuse and access to justice is essential in these cases. The
LASPO legal aid cuts have resulted in radical consequences for access to justice
with the worst impact affecting the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of
We are pleased that the
Government has fixed this unconsidered technicality - one which was causing
serious injustice to some victims of abuse. But the over-strict tests required
by the regulations still mean some survivors are excluded from accessing legal
aid for family law disputes against an abusive ex partner or relative, and we
hope the MoJ will continue to work with us to resolve these problems.'