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Court rules domestic violence legal aid time limit is invalid

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19 February 2016

Court rules domestic violence legal aid time limit is invalid

A controversial impact of the 2012 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) was for clients to obtain Legal Aid for a family matter they were required to provide evidence of domestic violence within the last 24 months.

Without the support of a family lawyer this meant that more than a third of the victims of domestic violence could not provide the evidence they required to obtain legal aid and were left exposed to intimidation and would have had to confront their attackers in court if left unrepresented.

However in a very recent case between The Queen (on the application of Rights of Women) v The Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Justice, the Court of Appeal have ruled that regulation 33 was ‘invalid’ insofar as it ‘requires verification of domestic violence to be given within a 24-month period before any application for legal aid and does not cater for victims of domestic violence who have suffered from financial abuse'.  Read more about in the Law Society Gazette.

This landmark ruling acknowledges that being a victim of domestic violence does not have a time limit and provides new hope within the legal landscape and access to justice for those who have or are suffering domestic violence.

Our Family solicitors are all experienced at dealing with issues relating to domestic violence so don't suffer in silence, give them a call and get the help you deserve.

Sophie Metcalfe