When the government announced that victims of domestic violence would need to provide courts with certain types of evidence before being able to apply for legal aid, there was understandable concern and criticism towards the move.
Domestic violence as a phenomenon is largely invisible because many victims are too frightened to seek the medical or emotional help they need, which makes gathering evidence often impossible. Concerns deepened when it became apparent that the restrictions on legal aid access were placing even more women and children in danger.
The result was a challenge by Rights of Women and The Public Law Project in 2014, which accused the government of restricting access to justice by forcing victims to produce specific documents showing harm. Regulation 33, which sets out the kinds of evidence victims of domestic violence have to produce in order to get legal aid, was shutting out people in need.
Then, in February 2016, the Court of Appeal ruled that Regulation 33 was unlawful.
As a result the government is now carrying out a review of the current evidence requirements for domestic violence in private family law cases and they would like to hear your thoughts.
The survey is open to everyone, and closes on Friday 1st July, 2016. Please take the time to fill it out and pass it on to anyone else you feel might like to contribute, if you can, from victims of domestic violence, to charities, lawyers, judges and anyone else interested in legal aid and Access To Justice matters.
We’ve added some useful links below:
- Law Gazette Article About The Review
- The Survey
- Domestic Violence Evidence Requirements – Update, April 2016 (In Response To the Rights Of Women case)
- What The Update Means And How It Changes The Current Requirements
- Legal Aid For Family Law Matters
- Current Accepted Forms Of Evidence If You Have Been A Victim Of Domestic Violence
- Legal Aid If Your Child Is At Risk Of Abuse