Domestic violence campaigners given permission to appeal

Family Law | 22 Sep 2014 1

Campaign group the Rights of Women have been given permission to challenge the lawfulness of government restrictions on legal aid.

The voluntary organisation claims that the restrictions on legal aid introduced by year’s Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act often prevent genuine victims of domestic violence from securing legal funding, despite an apparent exemption in the Act for domestic violence cases.

Currently people seeking legal aid funding for claims of domestic violence are required to submit certain kinds of evidence, such as a conviction held by their partner or a police caution. The group claim these requirements mean vulnerable women unable produce such evidence can be left at risk of further violence.

Rights of Women argued therefore that the LASPO had failed to fulfil the expectations of Parliament.

A ‘substantive hearing’ (one featuring a ruling or decision) is now expected before the end of the year.

The organisation’s case was represented by legal charity the Public Law Project. The application was also supported by the Law Society. President Andrew Caplen. He said:

“It is great news that the Court has recognised that the harm being done to the victims of domestic violence by the restrictive regulations this government brought in may be unlawful. We welcome the swift timetable for hearing the case, as those suffering as a result of these rules need clarity as soon as possible.”

On Friday, members of the Rights of Women gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London to await a decision on their application.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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    1. Luke says:

      I don’t understand why these challenges are allowed, if you want to label somebody a domestic violence abuser then you need to have evidence, claiming it verbally just won’t do – otherwise you make men second class citizens.
      If a man just said “my wife is committing domestic violence on me” would that be accepted without evidence ? We all know it wouldn’t.
      Frankly, I don’t think the Law Society is being objective – they have a financial interest for their members’ work prospects.

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