Less than a month after the Court of Appeal upheld a challenge to the government’s changes to legal aid for victims of domestic violence, the Legal Aid Agency has confirmed that solicitors can submit evidence older than 24 months.
In The Queen (on the application of Rights of Women) v The Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Justice, the court ruled that regulation 33 of the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012 was ‘invalid’ insofar as it ‘requires verifications of domestic violence to be given within a 24-month period before any application for legal aid and does not cater for victims of domestic violence who have suffered from financial abuse’.
The agency said the Ministry of Justice is ‘working on amended regulations’.
Until then, ‘providers are able to make determinations to grant controlled work or to make an application for a legal aid certificate in relation to civil legal services where the required documentary evidence is older than 24 months.
‘The evidence will still need to be in the form prescribed in regulation 33’.
The ministry is also ‘working on amended regulation’ to make provision for evidence of financial abuse, the agency said.
‘Once the amended regulations are laid we will produce updated guidance.’