From 08 January 2018 the evidence required in support of a claim for Legal Aid has been widened to assist more victims of domestic abuse to bring their claims to Court.
Entitlement to Legal Aid for private family law matters was removed in 2013 following the government’s introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The aim was to reduce the level of public spending.
Following the introduction of LASPO, Legal Aid only remained in limited circumstances where there had been domestic abuse such as applications for non-molestation orders (injunction), occupation orders and registering home rights.
In such cases, any individual submitting a claim was previously required to provide evidence in support of domestic abuse limited to a period of 5 years. Evidence could include a police caution or conviction; an injunction; or a letter or report from a health professional, social services or domestic violence support service stating that the individual was a victim of domestic abuse within the 5 years immediately preceding the application.
Following a review, the government has recognised that domestic abuse or the threat of domestic abuse can exist for much longer than 5 years and has now removed the 5 year time limit. The range of organisations that are able to provide evidence in support of domestic abuse has also been extended and a full list of the evidence which can now be relied upon in support of an application for legal aid can be found here.
This is a positive development for private family law individuals who have been the victim of domestic abuse. It increases the number of individuals eligible to obtain Legal Aid and bring their claims to Court to gain protection for themselves and their children.
If you require advice or assistance in relation to obtaining Legal Aid or any other family law matters at Jordans Solicitors we have a dedicated family law team who can help. Please dial 01924 387 110 and ask to speak with a member of the family law team or visit our website at www.jordanssolicitors.co.uk and request a callback.