Legal Aid: Domestic Abuse Victims

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 14th December 2020.

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Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin 3:30 pm, 14th December 2020

I am not sure whether the Member has not listened to what I have said or whether he has just not understood what I have said. I have said clearly that I am committed to that, but that the Committee, in some of the amendments that it put forward, went far beyond what it was intending to do, so there were unforeseen consequences to some of the proposals that it was making. The Committee needs to understand the consequences of those and get assistance to amend its proposals properly and take them forward. I am committed to seeing the strongest possible legislation, including support for people who require legal aid, but we want to ensure that people who do not deserve that or who we do not intend to be caught up in that amendment do not fall within it. There are consequences beyond that, which I do not believe that the Committee fully either examined or understood, and those must be made clear. When we are voting for legislation in this House, we need to know what we are voting for. Absolute clarity is needed in relation to all of those matters so that we can get the best possible legislation that supports victims of domestic violence.