Archive for April, 2016

New interim regulations for family law legal aid

In response to the judgment in our judicial review the Ministry of Justice has committed to undertaking a review of the regulations for family law legal aid and the impact of the domestic violence evidence. We are working closely with the Ministry of Justice to inform this review. Read Legal Aid Minister, Shailesh Vara’s statement of 21 April here.

In the meantime the Government has introduced interim regulations to deal with the two areas of concern highlighted by Lord Justice Longmore in his judgment of 18 February. The interim regulations can be found here.

Time limit on evidence of domestic violence

The interim regulations set a new, extended time limit on the forms of evidence of domestic violence from two years to five years. Most of the forms of evidence of domestic violence set out in the regulations will be considered by the LAA so long as the form of evidence is no more than five years old.

Evidence of financial abuse

From 25 April 2016 the Legal Aid Agency has discretion to consider forms of evidence of financial abuse not currently set out in the list of evidence. The guidance issued to LAA caseworkers can be found here (from paragraph 2.75). There is an evidence checklist which includes forms of evidence including bank statements, communications with the perpetrator (texts or emails), a letter from a domestic violence support service or a narrative statement from the survivor. In order to demonstrate financial abuse you should submit as much evidence as you can.

We will continue to update on further developments.

If you have any questions about your eligibility for family law legal aid, call our advice line.

If you have any evidence or experiences of the domestic violence evidence requirements which would inform the Ministry of Justice’s review please contact Emma or Mandip on 020 7251 6575.

Remembering Denise

 

At Rights of Women we were hugely saddened to hear about the death of our Patron, Denise Robertson, last week.

Denise became our Patron in 2010 as part of our 35th anniversary celebrations but before that she had a long association with Rights of Women, regularly signposting women to our legal advice services and helping us launch our publication, From A to Z: a woman’s guide to the law in 2007.

Her advice was a comfort to many, many thousands of women through her work on television and her website. Through that work she was aware of the inequalities that women experienced in their lives and felt passionately about wanting to change that. She felt the pain of the women who sought her help very keenly. At our 40th anniversary conference in October 2016 she said,

“In my 40 years as an agony aunt I have seen huge progress in the lives of women. We should be wrapped in clover. But we are not. In the family courts women are routinely left baffled. I have shed tears over some of the letters I’ve had.”

Denise had enormous compassion and tenacity. She would not stop until she had an answer to a woman’s problem. Despite her very busy life, she was also fiercely committed to Rights of Women and supported us in so many ways.

“You are not an organisation, you are a lifeline in a difficult and uncertain world. That is why I support Rights of Women.”

The thoughts of all our Trustees, staff and volunteers are with Denise’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.

 
 
 

Contact us at:


Rights of Women,
52-54 Featherstone Street,
London, EC1Y 8RT.
Administration: 020 7251 6575
Email: info@row.org.uk