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Types of evidence required for Legal Aid in domestic abuses cases

The strength of each case is a determining factor to assess Legal Aid, if one alleges that he himself is a victim of domestic violence by his ex. The financial eligibility is also a deciding factor in providing Legal Aid by the agency.

The only case where the right of legal aid applies Suo Moto (on its own motion – Latin) is child care proceedings. However, in other cases one needs to adduce evidence of domestic violence or probable risk of domestic violence. The following outlines a list of documents which falls in the category of evidence and which can be produced to get legal aid. In order to get legal aid, you need to satisfy the court that the evidence falls in any of the following categories. It must be proved  that the document which is sought to be produced as evidence is not more than two years old. In the event the evidence produced is older than two years, you will have to rely on other sets of evidence mentioned below.

 

Types of evidence

It could be a challenging task to decide upon admissible and inadmissible evidence as the regulations defining them getting modified at regular intervals. However, at present time we would interpret some of the regulations laid down relating to such relevant situations as follows:

 

(1.) A sentence which was not undergone by the convict for a domestic violence offence. A sentence or conviction which was incomplete in a child abuse act. As per the law, a “Spent” or incomplete conviction can be of no regard in most of the cases after lapse of a certain period of time. It usually depends upon the quantum/duration of sentence. You may obtain relevant information from Your Rights website about the likely sentence or conviction to be undergone in certain domestic violence or abuse convicted matter. In annex 1 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012. Proof of the conviction will be required and its date from the court, Police or the CPS.  It is not required that you have been named/arrayed as the victim as per the evidence. Under `Clare’s Law’ an application may be filed for knowing your ex’s previous convictions — ask at your local Police Station.

 

(2.) A warning from the Police for a domestic violence offence and it is mandatory that the caution given by the police to the other party on a domestic violence complaint made by you. This should be during the last two years before preceding your legal aid application.

 

(3.) An appropriate material evidence for initiated and undisposed criminal proceedings for a domestic violence offence. In a case where your ex-partner has been charged by police and his trial is pending in the court of law. This should be confirmed in writing by the crown Prosecution Service.

 

(4.) A protective injunction where an order has been passed for the protection of the child against the other person. The said order must either be in force or must have been passed within 2 years immediately preceding the presentation of the present application for legal aid. A non-molestation order or an occupation order is an example of a relevant injunction. The only eligibility criterion in certain cases is that the order must have been passed for the protection of the child as well as for the protection of yourself. Again, the stay must be in force and should have been given by the court not more than two years preceding your present application for legal aid.

 

(5.) An appropriate indemnity or undertaking. Undertakings have to be given by the person with whom you are having the dispute related to the family case and it should have been given in the past two years preceding the present application date.  This cannot be used as evidence for getting the legal aid in case you have also given a cross undertaking.

You may also submit appropriate evidence to establish that the other person has been on Police bail for a domestic violence crime.

 

(6.) A letter from a member of a MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference). You have to make note if there was any family dispute conference at MARAC pertaining to domestic violence against you during the period of last two years. An appropriate procedure or method may have been drawn by MARAC to protect you from domestic violence or abuse in such cases. A letter or a certificate or any other ancillary documents from a member of MARAC could be helpful evidence in your case. However, such conference and plan to protect you against such violence should have been made two years before you made the subject application.

 

(7.) An appropriate fact finding document filed by the court in a domestic violence and child abuse matter which is made by you against the other party  This decision of fact finding should be within two years of the date of your present legal aid application.

 

(8.) A medical certificate from general practitioner or a medical professional, a registered medical practitioner, your general practitioner (in case you are administering medicines for your physical condition), a registered psychologist or a practicing psychiatrist (in case of you are administered medicines for your mental condition) stating that you have been a victim of domestic violence. Your situation had been professionally diagnosed and it is apparent that those injuries are caused only due to domestic violence and abuse on you and there are no absolutely no reasons to disbelieve your contention. . The report must have been made within two years before the date of your legal aid application. The medical professional issuing such report or certificate must also unequivocally confirm that he has comprehensive knowledge about your health situation and access to your medical records.

 

(9.) A social services letter, certificate and or ancillary documentation such as assessment report confirming the assessment conducted on a report by you about domestic violence and abuse on you by the other party. The letter thus issued by the social services should report that you were subject to or are at risk of being a victim of domestic violence or abuse by the other party. This situation, assessed by the social services, should have been within two years of your present legal aid application.

 

(10.) A letter, certificate and or supporting documentation issued by a domestic violence help organisation or a recognised body in the United Kingdom stating that you were provided asylum by such organisation or body for more than 24 hours for a domestic violence or abuse caused by the other party. The letter or the report must contain the date when you were there, as this will further substantiate the claim. This should have happened in the two years before your application for legal aid is made.

 

(11.) A letter, certificate, and or supporting documentation, issued by a domestic violence help organisation or a recognised body in the United Kingdom, stating that you had approached them for protective shelter to save yourself from domestic violence or abuse by the other party. That the said organization, or a recognised body, rejected your request as they could not accommodate further requests due to the fact that they are full occupied by prior applicants at that time. This situation should have happened within two years of your present application for legal aid.

 

(12.) A Medical certificate from general practitioner or a medical professional having comprehensive knowledge about your health situation and access to your medical records and has received medical expert assistance to help you in coping with your  domestic violence and abuse on you by other party. This report must have been made within the two years before your application for legal aid.

 

(13.) A court order or notice in a domestic violence and abuse matter and against the other person to safeguard you made in the two years before the date of application for legal aid was done. These are also termed as go notices or go orders.

 

(14.) A judgement or a mandatory court direction made against the other party with respect to a domestic violence or abuse crime committed by the other party, and if the said orders are passed during the two years before your legal aid application and exist on the date.

 

The information about the legal aid for family matters is available on the Justice website.  This website link would direct you to a sample of documents that you can ask one of the people outlined above to complete in order to obtain the necessary evidence.

In case you are a victim of domestic violence by your ex-partner, you are entitled to legal aid to deal with the financial issues on divorce, provided you are able meet the above mentioned evidence standards.

 

Contact us to see how we can help you

For more information on your options call our team on 0845 862 5001 or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in London WC2N 4JF and Manchester M2 4PD. Please contact us for more details.

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31st October 2016

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