For may years I have been talking about the ridiculous situation victims find themselves in because they have equity in a property which prevents them from obtaining legal aid.
The Legal Aid Agency expected victims to use their equity to pay for their legal costs, which is not only extremely difficult but totally impractical.
Finally, a brave solicitor – Daniel Rourke from the Family Law Project bought a case challenging the injustice of these rules and the Director of Legal Aid Casework and the Lord Chancellor agreed on the 18th December 2020, so now the rules are going to change.
A victim’s entitlement for legal aid will still be subject to a means test but as from the 28th January 2021 there will be a total disregard of mortgaged equity.
In 2020, NCDV helped over 1,600 victims that could not get legal aid help because of their equity.
A victim of domestic abuse or violence suffers enough; it’s grossly unfair and frankly dangerous that when brave enough to start their escape they find themselves unable to afford a solicitor, all too often this means that many give up.
This is a landmark decision which will help thousands of victims to escape from abuse.
Mark Groves CEO
For a fuller explanation see: https://publiclawproject.org.uk/latest/legal-aid-rule-change-for-home-owners-on-low-incomes-domestic-violence-survivors/
And for the legal stuff see: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/1584/pdfs/uksi_20201584_en.pdf