When the government announced that victims of domestic violence would need to provide courts with certain types of evidence before being able to apply for legal aid, there was understandable concern and criticism towards the move.
Domestic violence as a phenomenon is largely invisible because many victims are too frightened to seek the medical or emotional help they need, which makes gathering evidence often impossible. Concern deepened when it became apparent that the restrictions on legal aid access were placing even more women and children in danger.
The result was a challenge by Rights of Women and The Public Law Project in 2014, which accused the government of restricting access to justice by forcing victims to produce specific documents showing harm. Regulation 33, which sets out the kinds of evidence victims of domestic violence have to produce in order to get legal aid, was shutting out people in need.
Then, in February 2016…
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