Legal Aid Scheme: Domestic Violence

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 6th March 2017.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Party Chair, Labour Party, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans the Government has to reform requirements for eligibility for legal aid for victims of domestic violence.

Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Party Chair, Labour Party, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if she will take steps to ensure that domestic violence victims are not required to pay a fee to their GP to provide evidence of eligibility to legal aid.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Last year we committed to working with domestic violence support groups and legal representative bodies to review the domestic violence evidence requirements for legal aid in private family cases. This review is now coming to end, and we recognise the need for improvements to the system.

We have already announced our intention to completely remove the time limit on all forms of evidence, and to broaden the evidence types to include, for instance, letters from domestic violence support organisations and housing support officers. We will provide further details of the full extent of our proposals shortly.

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