Archive for March, 2015

Guidance for applying for family law legal aid in domestic violence cases

The guidance from the Ministry of Justice on evidencing domestic violence for family law legal aid has moved to the gov.uk website here

There are very useful template letters you can use to ask the courts, police or medical professionals for your evidence here.

There are also useful template letters for professionals to use in providing the evidence which meets the Legal Aid Agency regulations here.

If you have any questions about how to apply for legal aid in family cases or how to get your evidence please call our advice line.

 

 

 

 

LAPG’s call to amend the domestic violence evidence test

LAPG have called for amendments to the domestic violence evidence test for family law legal aid in its manifesto for legal aid: “over 50% of victims who urgently need help are excluded from obtaining advice because either the definition or the evidence required are insurmountable hurdles for them”.

A copy of the manifesto can be found on the LAPG website.

Justice Select Committee: Failure to ensure victims of domestic violence can access legal aid means the Government is not achieving its declared objectives

On 12th March, the Justice Select Committee published recommendations following its inquiry into the impact of changes to civil legal aid under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.  The select committee considered whether victims of domestic violence are able to satisfy the eligibility and evidential requirements for a successful legal aid application:

“We note with concern the evidence from the Rights of Women survey suggesting 39% of women who were victims of domestic violence had none of the forms of evidence required to qualify for legal aid. Any failure to ensure that victims of domestic violence can access legal aid means the Government is not achieving its declared objectives…

We welcome the Ministry of Justice’s commitment to keeping the types of evidence required to qualify for the domestic violence gateway under review and recommend the introduction of an additional ‘catch-all’ clause giving the Legal Aid Agency discretion to grant legal aid to a victim of domestic violence who does not fit within the current criteria. We also wish to see regular publication of figures on grants of legal aid made on the grounds of domestic violence.”

“We recommend Regulation 33 of the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012 be amended to give the Legal Aid Agency discretion to allow evidence of domestic violence from more than 24 months prior to the date of the application in cases where the person who has suffered the violence would be materially disadvantaged by having to face the perpetrator of the violence in court. We make this recommendation in recognition of the potential artificiality of the 24 month time limit given the ongoing nature of familial relations that can be the subject of court proceedings and the lasting impact domestic abuse can have on victims.”

A full copy of the report is available here

 
 
 

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