Domestic Violence Victim's Access to Legal Aid
The Guardian newspaper reports that domestic violence victim’s access to Legal Aid is unlawfully restrictive.
It is claimed by campaigners that the requirements for mandatory evidence in support of evidence of domestic violence now required by the Legal Aid Agency before an individual be granted Legal Aid to pursue separation or children matters or other relates issues prevents approximately 40% of women affected by violence from getting Legal Aid.
A case has recently been heard in the High Court in which the Government has been accused of turning “women away at the first hurdle” in cases of child custody or division of assets when new rules are brought into play which sets out mandatory evidential requirements for victims seeking Legal Aid for private family law disputes.
The Legal Aid changes were introduced in April 2013 and had a devastating impact upon the availability of Legal Aid to certain categories of individuals.
Clarkson Hirst Solicitors can advise as to whether you are entitled to Legal Aid and whether the mandatory evidential requirements would prevent you from securing Legal Aid. We have certainly found that many individuals who come to seek legal advice are finding that they do not meet the evidential requirements and are then having to meet the costs of funding their case on a private case which many can ill afford to do. This includes individuals in receipt of Income Support, Disability Living Allowance and other benefits.
Clarkson Hirst do offer a number of low income fixed fee schemes to try and assist in the situation as unfortunately we simply cannot give Legal Aid to individuals where the Government have placed these restrictions upon us. We would be happy to discuss this further and advise as to your entitlement should this be required.
Please contact our office on 01524 39760.