We are pleased to see within these documents that the Government recognises the Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) scheme is in need of reform and in particular the acknowledgement that it “will also work with legal professionals and the advice sector to explore opportunities to simplify the ECF scheme and ensure it works as effectively as possible.”
In addition to announcing that it will consider simplifying the ECF scheme to improve access and whether a new urgent case procedure is needed and it has also committed to improving the speed of ECF decision-making.
Today we launch our research report Accessible or beyond reach? Navigating the Exceptional Case Funding Scheme without a lawyer which provides a detailed analysis of the ECF scheme’s accessibility for women survivors of domestic and sexual violence and abuse.
Our report’s findings provide an evidence-based consideration of the matters the Government has identified it wishes to address including its inaccessibility to individuals, chronic delays in decision making and an urgent case procedure that is not fit for purpose.
We are hopeful that this will assist the Government in taking the necessary steps swiftly and effectively to overhaul the ECF scheme and improve access to justice without delay.