On 8 January 2018 the regulations changed in relation to obtaining legal aid for victims of domestic abuse.

When the law was introduced in 2013 withdrawing legal aid in family cases, it allowed victims of domestic abuse to obtain legal aid provided that they could prove domestic abuse within the past two years.  The proof required was fairly narrow and included a supporting letter from a doctor confirming the client had been medically examined and was a victim of domestic abuse, a letter from a doctor confirming that the client had been referred by them to a domestic abuse specialist support agency, a letter from that agency confirming the doctor has referred them, a police conviction or caution, a restraining or injunction order made by the courts or a finding of fact of domestic abuse within children proceedings.

This two year rule was later extended to five years and has now been extended again so that the timing limit is removed altogether.

Following a successful judicial review, the Ministry of Justice agreed to review the regulations and has worked closely with the Law Society, LAPG, Resolution and Rights of Women to ensure that the evidence required was more appropriate.  Unfortunately, the previous DV required evidence set out in the regulation was restrictive and it was often impossible to secure so that nearly 50% of victims of abuse were unable to get legal aid to deal with family law matters.

In addition to the removal of time limit on evidence, several other key changes came into force with the revised regulations which include:-

  • The recognition of evidence from organisations providing domestic violence support services.
  • Evidence from housing officers
  • Evidence of violence towards a previous partner at risk of abuse.

If you wish to be assessed for legal aid for a family matter please do not hesitate to contact us and we will guide you through the regulations and assess you for legal aid eligibility.

If you would like to contact our team about Legal Aid for victims of domestic abuse or any other family law matter, then please call 01726 74433 or email family.staustell@stephens-scown.co.uk.