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    Solicitors Panel

    Solicitors Panel 1

    Joining the Solicitors’ Panel

    Welcome to the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV), where we provide crucial support to victims of domestic abuse across England.  Our primary focus is on offering legal protection through court orders to those in need.

    We invite law firms to join our panel in areas where our current coverage does not adequately meet the demand for our services. NCDV operates independently without government funding or donations. Instead, we generate our own income by offering solicitors an optional document drafting service. We take great pride in the quality of our work and our commitment to providing exceptional service enables us to support vulnerable victims
    regardless of their financial position.

    Last year alone, we supported over 5000 victims who were unable to afford legal aid or a solicitor, ensuring they obtained a protective injunction. No other organization provided this volume of support for free. Our dedication to our clients is reflected in our core principle, which can be summed up in a single phrase: “Every Client Matters.” This principle guides every aspect of our work and underscores our commitment to not letting down our vulnerable clients.

    While we value our income stream as it sustains our organisation, we also care about fulfilling our responsibilities to our clients, referrers, employees, solicitors’ panel, the police, and the courts. Our financial obligations, including taxes and creditors, necessitate running our organisation in a business-minded manner. We maintain a team of dedicated individuals such as Managers, Directors, HR personnel, Supervisors, Investors, fee earners, helpline advisers, admin staff, accountants, and many more. We invest in talented individuals who contribute to our ability to provide exceptional care to those we serve.

    At NCDV, we continuously strive to deliver the best care possible within the resources available to us. For us, it is a matter of ensuring that “Every Client Matters.” When solicitors join our panel, we seek individuals who are hardworking, compassionate, compliant with all regulations, preferably possessing specialized skills in domestic abuse and violence, and with experience in assisting vulnerable people. Most importantly, we look for individuals who understand and align with our mission and values.

    To facilitate mutual understanding, we have developed a comprehensive questionnaire for solicitors interested in joining our panel. This questionnaire allows us to learn more about you and your business, building the necessary trust to entrust our clients’ well-being into your hands. Additionally, we invite you, as part of our application process, to meet with me over Zoom so you can gain a thorough understanding of how NCDV operates and the unwavering dedication we have for each and every client.

    For more information about the arrangements for legal aid firms to be on an NCDV panel, please download the statement issued by the Legal Aid Agency via the link provided at the bottom of this page.

    To begin the application process, please download and complete the application form below. Once received, I will be in touch to discuss further arrangements.

    Should you have any questions or require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Every client matters.

    National Centre for Domestic Violence

    Download the Application pack

    Legal Aid Agency Statement li

    By Fiona Bawden, Times Online (8th May 2007)

    “Steve Connor, a student at City Law School, is a man on a mission. Six years ago he was a fairly directionless 27-year-old. Today, as well as taking the Bar Vocational Course, he is chairman of the National Centre for Domestic Violence, a ground-breaking organisation that he dragged into existence after a friend could not get legal help to protect her from an abusive partner.

    Connor’s route to the Bar has been circuitous. In 2001 he returned from a year in Australia (he says that he would not dignify describing it as a gap year), and took a job as a process server in South London. The job (“I just saw it advertised in the paper”) was not quite as dull as it sounds. On one occasion he was threatened with a machete, on another, he was nearly stabbed by a man he had arranged to meet on Clapham Common to serve with a non-molestation order: “He’d seemed really friendly on the phone…”

    The turning point in his life came when a friend, who was being abused by her partner, turned to him for support. Connor went with her to the police. She did not want to press criminal charges so the police suggested that she visit a solicitor to take out a civil injunction. “We must have seen 12 solicitors in a morning. We just went from one to the next to the next to the next. Everyone was very eager to help until we sat down to fill in the forms for the legal aid means test,” he says. The woman, who had a small child, did not qualify for public funding. But, Connor says, her financial situation as it appeared on paper did not bear any relation to her financial situation in reality. “She had a part-time job and she and her partner owned their home. Yet she didn’t have any money. Her boyfriend was very controlling and controlled all the money; he kept the chequebooks and didn’t let her have access to the bank account.”

    The injustice of the situation got under Connor’s skin. “I just couldn’t believe that there was no help available to people who did not qualify for public funds but could not afford to pay.

    I just kept feeling that this must be able to be sorted if only someone would address it.”That “someone” turned out to be him.

    In 2002, thanks entirely to Connor’s doggedness, the London Centre for Domestic Violence was formed. It started out with him and a friend, but is now a national organisation, covering 27 counties, and has helped approximately 10,000 victims last year to take out injunctions against their partners.

    NCDV now has nine full-time staff, 12 permanent volunteers and has trained over 5000 law and other students as McKenzie Friends to accompany unrepresented victims into court. We have also trained over 8000 police officers in civil remedies available regarding domestic violence. The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) has branches in London, Guildford and Manchester and is on track to have branches in 16 areas within the next two years.

    NCDV specialises exclusively in domestic violence work and could be characterised as a cross between McDonald’s and Claims Direct. The high degree of specialisation means that its processes are streamlined: clients can be seen quickly and the work is done speedily and cheaply. “Sometimes, we will have one of our trained McKenzie Friends at a court doing 10 applications in one day,” Connor says.

    Clients are not charged for the service. NCDV staff take an initial statement: clients who qualify for legal aid are referred to a local firm; those that don’t get free help from the centre itself. It runs on a shoestring, heavily reliant on volunteers and capping staff salaries at £18,000 a year.

    Steve expects to qualify as a barrister this summer and hopes that having a formal legal qualification will give the centre added clout. “We are already acknowledged as experts and consulted at a high level, so I thought it would be helpful if I could back that up by being able to say I’m a barrister,” he says. He is just about to complete a one-year full-time BVC course at the City Law School (formerly the Inns of Court Law School) and, all being well, should be called to the Bar in July. Although Connor sees his long-term future as a barrister, he says that he has no immediate plans to practise. “I want to get NCDV running on a fully national level. Then I may take a step back and have a career at the Bar.”