Fitzgerald Solicitors went to the high court to challenge the financial eligibility, or means rules that prevent so many women getting access to free legal support to protect themselves and their children from abuse, even when in terms of their income, they qualify for legal aid.
Jenny Beck is the solicitor representing the applicant, Claire (not her real name). Claire is challenging the rule that means that even if someone is only in receipt of Universal credit by way of income ( which automatically qualifies them for legal aid) if they nominally own a share of the equity in the former matrimonial home - even if they cant access it with out the abusers permission, which invariably, in our experience, Legal aid won't be given.
Partner, Cris McCurley has been part of this working group and threatened a similar challenge for a client who has mental health problems, was homeless, but had a very small interest in a property in Germany which she could not access. In her case, the Legal Aid Authority avoided the Judicial review by making an exception in her case.
Read more about yesterday's important challenge here.