Domestic Abuse & Eligibility for Legal Aid

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25.09.2019
Written by Rosita Mendonca
04.09.2019
Written by Rosita Mendonca

Legal Aid is available for victims of Domestic Abuse who satisfy the legal aid financial eligibility tests (usually those that are on low income or receiving income-based benefits). Your capital and savings, including the value of your home, will also be taken into account but the usual income and capital limits are waived (which means you could still be eligible although subject to paying a monthly contribution). All the financial information you give to us has to be supported by up to date proof.

In order for us to determine f you are eligible for legal aid, it is essential that you provide us with:

  • Your national insurance number

  • An estimate of the value of all your capital assets, including the value of your home and any other properties

  • A bank statement covering the last 3 months for all your bank accounts- including Savings accounts, ISA’s , Child Saving accounts

  • If you are employed, proof of your income via payslips covering the last 3 months if you are paid monthly, or covering the last 6 weeks if you are paid weekly

  • If you are self-employed, your most recent accounts and  tax returns.

  • If you are  in receipt of benefits or tax credits, a current letter (dated within the last six months) confirming your entitlement.

If you decide to make an application to court on a family matter concerning children or finances, Legal Aid will only be available if you can demonstrate:

  • You have been a victim of or at risk or domestic violence

  • The child who is the subject of the order is at risk of abuse from someone other than you.

In either case, allegations alone are insufficient and you have to provide evidence that you meet the criteria. You can find a list of the evidence accepted for domestic violence and when a child is at risk of abuse on the Ministry of Justice website.

To assess your capital, we will apply standard disregards for mortgage and equity, and if the remaining capital meets current criteria you will eligible .

To assess your income, we  will take into account income tax and NI payments, mortgage or rent, standard allowances for dependents living with you, child care and maintenance payments.

If the amount remaining meets current criteria, you will be eligible. To fully qualify for Legal Aid, you must be eligible on both capital and income grounds, it is possible that you may partially qualify for legal aid whereby they will pay a part of the legal costs, but you may be asked to pay a contribution.