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Occupation Orders: Legal Aid Scheme

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many victims of domestic violence have been refused legal aid in relation to an application for an occupation order in each year since 2010.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

OCCUPATION ORDER

REFUSALS

YEAR

APPLICATIONS

TOTAL

2010-2011

715

27

2011-2012

524

21

2012-2013

600

35

2013-2014

208

15

2014-2015

215

8

2015-2016

243

13

2016-2017

354

27

2017-2018

303

25

2018-2019

376

44

Figures are based on the volume of applications made rather than the number of discrete individuals. One person may make more than one application for legal aid.

The upper limits on financial means eligibility in cases involving protective orders due to Domestic Violence are waived, meaning a client will never be assessed out of scope on finances. The Legal Aid Agency would never refuse an application on the basis that it did not believe the applicant to be a victim of domestic abuse.

Refusals will be based on consideration of whether the circumstances of the case indicate that the court is unlikely to grant an order (minor incidents or passage of time since they occurred), whether there is an alternative remedy available (warning letter, police involvement) or whether the client is already sufficiently protected (bail conditions, remand in custody).

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