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Changes to Legal Aid for domestic abuse victims

Wednesday June 7, 2023


The Ministry of Justice and the Legal Aid Agency have announced proposed changes to legal aid access for domestic abuse victims following recommendations by the Harm Panel.


The move will see over 6 million more vulnerable people and families able to access funded legal support as the government has pledged £25 million to boost the legal aid system every year.


It will mean that domestic abuse victims on universal credit and seeking a protective order for themselves or their children can access legal aid funding more easily without facing a means (financial) test.


Those sharing a house with the alleged perpetrator will also benefit from changes to disputed or inaccessible assets which will no longer be considered when assessing someone’s financial eligibility for legal aid.


The progress report published on 25th May 2023 also shows the government has delivered a number of changes to better protect children and parents including:


  1. A ban on perpetrators cross-examining their victims in court
  2. Automatic special measures for victims such as protective screens and giving evidence via video link
  3. Clarifying the law on ‘barring orders’, to prevent perpetrators from bringing their ex-partners back to court, which can be used as a form of continuing domestic abuse.


These changes have not yet come into force, however are an important step in ensuring access to justice.


If you are unsure if you may be currently eligible for legal aid or have any questions please contact familysolicitor@afglaw.co.uk or 01204 377 600 to arrange a free initial consultation.

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