Family law legal aid
Click here to download: A Guide to Family Law Legal Aid
Since writing this guide, there have been minor changes to the rules. These are:
- letters from the Home office need only confirm that you were granted leave to remain on the basis of domestic abuse and not based on a specific section of the immigration rules
- letters from IDVAs and ISVAs can be based on previous support offered by the service as well as current support
- domestic violence support services providing evidence must be in the UK as opposed to England and Wales only
During the coronavirus pandemic, the guidance has been changed to make it easier to provide evidence via email instead of on letter-headed paper. Letters from domestic abuse support services, IDVAs, ISVAs, medical professionals, MARAC members, and public authorities may now be in an email provided it is a professional email address. For criminal evidence, it is possible for your solicitor to confirm they have spoken to the police or CPS and have had the relevant information confirmed to them. You can find the Legal Aid Agency guidance here (opens PDF).
This guide will help you to understand whether legal aid is available for the type of family law case you are facing. If it is, it explains the tests that you will have to meet to be eligible for legal aid.
If you think that you might be eligible for legal aid, you should contact a legal aid solicitor in your area to arrange an appointment. They will be able to look at your documents and confirm whether you can access legal aid. You can find a local legal aid solicitor here.
In response to the judgment in our judicial review the Ministry of Justice introduced changes to the list of documents that will be accepted as evidence that someone has experienced or is experiencing domestic abuse. These changes came into force on 8th January 2018. It is possible that you were not eligible for legal aid before this date but are now eligible for legal aid.
If you are unsure, you can contact our family law advice line for further advice.
Click here to download our detailed guidance on the current list of domestic violence evidence accepted by the Legal Aid Agency.
We are interested in understanding how the changes are working in practice. If you have any evidence or experiences of the domestic violence evidence requirements which you think we should know about, please contact Mandip or Olive on 020 7251 6575.
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