The Court of Appeal is right to overrule the Government on legal aid cuts
The Women’s Equality Party said that today’s Court of Appeal ruling on legal aid was the right decision. The decision invalidates changes made in 2013 which put time limits on legal aid claims, and prevents survivors of domestic violence and abuse from accessing legal aid for family law disputes.
“It is absolutely right that the Court of Appeal has overturned the Government’s ill-thought-out changes to legal aid for cases of domestic violence and abuse,” said Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party (WE). “This case shows the need for constant vigilance to ensure women’s rights are protected. It is for this reason too that the Women’s Equality Party is standing for election in May - because what’s right for women needs to part of the political agenda., The case was brought to challenge a Government decision that only evidence of domestic violence dated within two years of a legal aid claim could be counted. Evidence of financial abuse was also excluded.
“Experts have told us that 40% of survivors of domestic violence were unable to provide the required evidence under the old rules,” Walker continued.
“These rules failed to take into account the reality of domestic violence cases, with the result that many women were forced to represent themselves in court against their perpetrators, or were simply unable to face their abuser in this way, and so were failed by our justice system.”
She added: “Today’s judgement will mean more women affected by domestic violence and abuse will have access to justice through the courts. It will keep more women, and their children, safe.”
The Women’s Equality Party is committed to ending violence against women and girls.
WE will ensure that all women and girls who experience sexual, domestic or other violence have access to specialist advocacy and support services
WE will create a fund – more than £800m by 2018-19 – to support the legal aid budget, restoring half of the cuts made in 2012, and providing ring-fenced funds to local authorities for VAWG services
WE will expand services to ensure we can provide a stable place to live for all women and children fleeing domestic abuse, starting with crisis and refuge services and moving into more permanent housing
We will introduce compulsory PSHE in all schools to educate young people about consent and safety.
Sophie Walker is standing for election in the London Mayoral election in May. Read her policies here.
WE are also fielding candidates in GLA, Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament elections.
Press enquiries to Catherine Riley, Head of Communications (firstname.lastname@example.org/ +447764 752 731).