Court deals blow to rights of domestic violence survivors’ to access justice
Despite clear evidence that the domestic violence evidence criteria for family law legal aid are restricting access to family law legal aid, the Divisional Court has dismissed our legal challenge of the legal aid regulations, finding that the Secretary of State for Justice acted within his powers .
Emma Scott, Director of Rights of Women, said “On behalf of the women who continue to be denied access to justice by the legal aid regulations we are devastated by the outcome of our legal challenge. This decision means that women who remain at risk of violence will continue to be denied access to vital legal advice and representation in family cases. Our most recent research shows that about 40% of women affected by violence do not have the required evidence in order to apply for family law legal aid. We are applying for permission to appeal this decision and remain committed to campaigning on this issue in order to hold the government to account on their promise to continue to make legal aid available to victims of domestic violence.”
We would like to thank Sarah Clarke and the Public Law Project and Nathalie Lieven QC and Zoe Leventhall of Landmark Chambers for their expert legal advice and representation and their commitment to this case. We would also like to thank the Law Society, without whose support we would not have been able to bring this case to court. We would also like to thank all those who supported the case in providing evidence of the devastating impact the legal aid regulations are having and to those who have supported us during this campaign in so many other ways.
Read our press release on today’s judgement here
Read more about our campaign and how you can get involved here