‘EXTENSIONS’ TO LEGAL AID SCHEME FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE

dbfamilylaw

A worsening of the applicant’s position?

Modest amendments to the legal aid scheme come into force on 17 July 2015 under Civil and Criminal Legal Aid (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1416: ‘CCLA(A)R 2015’; http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/1416/pdfs/uksi_20151416_en.pdf. Already these amendments have been given a muted welcome by, for example, the Law Society and Resolution. The welcome should perhaps be more limited still: one amendment seems to worsen the position of the applicant and the second to provide but a grudging change.

If I were a family court judge I would be very cross that civil servants in Legal Aid Agency (‘LAA’) could, in effect, tell me what was domestic abuse and when I could protect a party to proceedings under Family Law Act 1996 Part 4 or Protection from Harassment Act 1997 from such abuse. The effect of Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012 (‘CLA(P)R’) reg 33 is that it is…

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