As many people are aware, in 2013 the possibility of obtaining Legal Aid to help in a dispute relating to divorce or children was severely restricted by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
This placed a requirement that in order for a person to receive Legal Aid (public funding) they would have to show that they were a victim of domestic abuse from their opponent, within the last 24 months. This is a strict test with very specific evidence requirements.
As the 24 month time limit was strictly adhered to, this led to a situation where some people in receipt of Legal Aid would find their funding cancelled once the time limit was reached. Potentially leaving litigants stranded mid-proceedings.
The Government has recently agreed to loosen this restriction. It is now the case that if you meet the criteria at the start, you funding will not be stopped due to an expired time limit.
The position remains however that at the time of application for funding, the victim must have suffered an incident in the last 24 months. Many campaigners still believe that the 24 month time limit is far too restrictive, and continue to lobby for the review.
At Hartley & Worstenholme we have encountered many clients since the Legal Aid cuts, who have difficulty accessing funding for technical or minor reasons. If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you could receive Legal Aid on a family matter, please contact reception or come to one of our free advice clinics, opening times below.
Free advice legal clinics:
Castleford Office: Tuesday 4.30pm to 6.00pm
Pontefract Office: Wednesday 4.30pm to 6.00pm