FAMILY LAW – LEGAL AID CUTS On 1 April 2013, The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2013 comes into force and brings with it drastic changes to the Legal Aid system. The Government hopes to save in excess of £2 billion. Legal Aid will only be available in very limited circumstances unless there is evidence of domestic abuse of child abuse.
Who will be affected? Family cases where domestic abuse is not an issue will no longer be funded by Legal Aid. Legal Aid will only be available to victims of domestic abuse. The perpetrator of domestic abuse will not qualify for Legal Aid. The changes will not affect those cases where a Legal Aid certificate has been obtained before 1 April 2013.
Clients needing a Forced Marriage Protection Order, Non-Molestation Order, Occupation/Exclusion Order or transfer of tenancy or Protection from Harassment Order if there is a family relationship will still qualify for Legal Aid.
Private Family Law cases involving Contact, Residence and Prohibited Steps Orders will not be affected, provided that that the client can produce evidence of domestic abuse or evidence of child abuse.
Legal Aid will still be available to clients needing divorce or financial relief in divorce proceedings if they can prove domestic abuse or child abuse.
Means and Merits Testing All applicants for Legal Aid will still be required to satisfy a stringent merits test and funding will only be awarded if they qualify on their means. For more details Legal Aid Article This information will be updated in April 2013 Thank you to Ayres Waters for the article
Greater Manchester Police are able to provide certain evidence to support applications for legal aid check here for their information
Rights of Women have prepared briefings for agencies and individual women
on the legal aid changes http://rightsofwomen.org.uk/