The Public Law Project Suffer Setback in Challenge Against Governments Family Law Legal Aid Changes

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The Public Law Project, who have been working with the campaign group Rights of Women to challenge the legality of the Governments Family law changes have suffered a setback with the High Court rejecting their challenge.

In April 2013 various changes were brought into effect in relation to when Legal Aid could potentially be available in family law proceedings.

With regard to the majority of cases (care proceedings and applications for non-molestation orders aside), in order to be able to apply for Legal Aid in family cases, a person will need to provide specific evidence proving that they have been the victim of domestic violence.

Regulation 33 of the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012 sets out exactly what evidence will be accepted.  Some forms of evidence are subject to a 24 month time limit, for example if you have previously obtained a non-molestation order against the opponent but it expired over 24 months ago, you wouldn’t be able to rely on this as evidence of domestic violence for the purposes of obtaining Legal Aid.

After the rules were introduced, the Public Law Project (on behalf of Rights of Women) challenged the legality of the changes.  The High Court has now rejected the challenge as to their legality.

Mrs Justice Lang stated “It was a legitimate means of giving effect to the Act’s intention to take family law proceedings outside the scope of Legal Aid, whilst preserving Legal Aid for the exceptional category of victims of domestic violence in need of protection in family law proceedings”.

It is understood that Rights of Women are now applying for permission to appeal the decision of the High Court.

If you require any legal advice in relation to any family matter, or believe that you may be entitled to Legal Aid, please contact our specialist Family Solicitors on 0800 037 4628 or use our contact form to make an enquiry.

This entry was posted in Family Law.

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