Legal Aid: Domestic Abuse Victims

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 14th December 2020.

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Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin 3:15 pm, 14th December 2020

No, we are not saying that at all. We are saying that the Committee's amendment was not properly thought through and had much bigger scope to increase the provision of legal aid, including perhaps to some who were accused of being involved in domestic abuse. That amendment clearly needed to be tidied up and the proper ramifications of it thought through.

Not only are there implications for the extent of legal aid available here, but there would be a repercussive impact if people were to seek similar remedies in England, Scotland or Wales based on what had happened here. It was very clear that the Committee needed to be advised on the full extent of the amendment that it had put forward, and I assisted the Justice Minister in providing, from a financial point of view, advice to the Committee. I hope that the Committee will take that away and look at it and that an agreed approach to the Bill can be taken so that we can get the strongest possible protection and support for people through legal aid.