Articles

  • March 2018
    Legal Aid is still available


    Despite Government cuts to Family Legal Aid, introduced in the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, many people are unaware that Legal Aid is still available in certain circumstances.

    For domestic abuse injunction order applications, there has to be a reasonable prospect of succeeding in the application for legal aid to be granted.  Although evidence of means is required, there is no upper limit for capital or income, and legal aid will be granted although there will be monthly contributions for the better off.

    Provided a person has objective evidence of domestic violence and meets the means test (i.e. having a low income and not too much capital) Legal Aid is still available in the following cases:

    Private Children Act applications regarding the arrangements for children after separation of their parents (if the Local Authority has child protection concerns, evidence of domestic violence is not required).

    Financial applications

    Domestic abuse includes controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour and the abuse can encompass psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.  The objective evidence which will satisfy legal aid requirements includes a Court Order, criminal proceedings, a letter from a health professional, women’s refuge or from Social Services.

    Although of course we hope our clients will never find themselves in such a difficult situation, if you are living in fear of your partner, or you know of someone who is, please be assured that urgent protection can be obtained from the local civil courts.  Legal Aid may very well be available for you.  There really is no need to tolerate bullying or abusive behaviour.

    Neither the means test, nor the domestic violence test, is required for the following categories of case:

    • Proceedings by the Local Authority for Care or Supervision Orders and
    • Proceedings for the recovery of a child in international child abduction and abduction cases (the person who has taken the child would need to establish domestic violence and meet the means test.)
    • A person for whom a Forced Marriage Protection Order is  sought (but not for the person accused of arranging a forced marriage)
    • If you have any family law issues but feel that you cannot afford lawyer’s fees, please contact us for a free initial consultation to determine whether or not you qualify for Legal Aid.

    For further information please contact Ruth Jenkins on 01473 255591 or email to ruth.jenkins@jackamans.co.uk.

    This article provides only a general summary and is not intended to be comprehensive.  Special legal advice should be taken in any individual situation.

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