Legal aid changes in domestic violence cases legally flawed, rules appeal court


Government changes to the rules for obtaining legal aid in domestic violence cases have been declared legally flawed by the Court of Appeal.

Women's rights campaigners argued large numbers of victims are unlawfully being excluded from obtaining funding because of the changes.

And those who have endured rape and beating are unfairly being forced to "face their abuser in court" without legal representation.

Three appeal judges have now ruled the changes "invalid" insofar as they require verifications of domestic violence to be given within a 24-month period before any application for legal aid.

The judges also ruled the changes were flawed because they exclude from legal aid victims of domestic violence who have suffered from financial abuse.

The ruling is a victory for campaign group Rights of Women (ROW), which appealed against a High Court judgment that upheld the changes as lawful.