UK government announces extension of time for evidence in cases of domestic violence

A month after the Court of Appeal upheld a challenge to the government’s changes to legal aid for victims of domestic violence, the Ministry of Justice has announced it is more than doubling the original time limit for evidence, according to the Law Society Gazette.

Interim regulations are being laid before parliament today which will see the original time limit for evidence increase from two to five years.

In The Queen (on the application of Rights of Women) v The Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Justice, the court ruled that regulation 33 of the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012 was invalid insofar as it “requires verifications of domestic violence to be given within a 24-month period before any application for legal aid and does not cater for victims of domestic violence who have suffered from financial abuse”.

The ministry of justice has begun working with domestic violence support groups, legal representative bodies and colleagues across government “to gather data and develop our understanding” of those issues, according to Minister of Justice Shailesh Vara. The findings will be used “with the aim of drawing up replacement regulations”.

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