Legal Aid is available for those who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing domestic violence for private family law cases. The provision for this is under Regulation 33 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), which lists the types of evidence that the Legal Aid Agency will accept to grant legal aid in these circumstances.
The regulations changed on January 8th 2018. A broader list of acceptable types of evidence has been introduced with the intended purpose of widening access for survivors. This happened as a result of a successful judicial review (on appeal) brought by Rights of Women (RoW) in 2016 with the help of the Public Law Project, which argued that the previous regulations were too restrictive. Prior to this RoW worked in partnership with Women’s Aid and Welsh Women’s Aid on several national consultations with survivors about their experience of using the gateway. These consultations showed around 40% of genuine survivors were unable to satisfy the evidence requirements because the list was too narrow and there was a time limit on all evidence requiring it to be no more than 2 years old.