Amendments to regulations 33 and 34 of the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations were laid before Parliament on 27 March 2014. They will come into force on 22 April 2014.
The regulations will allow access to legal aid for private children matters, finance and divorce where there is evidence that:
- the other party is on police bail for a DV offence (although legal aid will be withdrawn if the person is not charged)
- entry to a refuge was refused because of a lack of accommodation
- referral by a health professional to a specialist support service
- domestic violence protection notices and orders
- binding over for a DV offence
Clients will no longer have to be admitted to a refuge for 24 hours where they are admitted. The evidence from medical professionals and MARACs will also be broadened slightly.
In relation to children at risk of abuse, evidence will include where the party is identified as on bail for a child abuse offence.