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How do the new Legal Aid rules affect ongoing cases?

(9 Posts)
BerylStreep Thu 28-Mar-13 20:05:14

A friend is currently going through legal proceedings - her ex is trying to gain parental responsibility of her son, which she is resisting because of previous violence to her, and violent threats which he made to SS about the baby before he was born. The ex has a history of severe MH problems, and is from Eastern Europe (not sure if it is relevant). Both are currently on Legal aid. My friend recently received a summons, and the 1st court appearance is due in 2 weeks time.

When the new rules come in at the start of April, does the Legal Aid continue or does my friend need to apply again? More importantly, will her ex still get Legal Aid, or will he have to start paying for the legal advice? Although there has been DV, I'm not sure if my friend would qualify as although it was reported to police, she didn't pursue a prosecution.

Does anyone know?

Collaborate Thu 28-Mar-13 22:34:42

If she hasn't got a legal aid certificate then she may be in trouble. There is a complicated definition of DV and the evidence that a victim needs to get together to be able to satisfy the LAB that she is entitled to get LA. she may or may not meet the test

I hear that LA was described by a trainer recently as not so much a fence at the top of a cliff but an ambulance waiting at the bottom.

Spero Thu 28-Mar-13 22:39:26

If she has already qualified, she should be fine until the end of proceedings. As far as I know the change in rules only applies to applications started after April - hence the big rush in March for new applications.

I don't think she would qualify under the new DV requirement, if there are no convictions or previous injunctions.

Collaborate Fri 29-Mar-13 05:50:43

It's more detailed than that Spero, but is tightly drawn. Includes GP letter, MARAC referral, SW letter, admission to a refuge, and others.

BerylStreep Fri 29-Mar-13 12:35:22

What I was more hopeful for was that the ex would no longer have his legal advice funded, but from what you say here, it seems that it is likely he already has a LA certificate so this would continue until proceedings are finished.

My poor friend. She is terrified of handing over her baby. He is a complete psychopath, who I have no doubt would consider abducting or killing the baby to seek revenge for her leaving him. He made threats about the baby to a SW when my friend was pregnant. The SW warned my friend she should never let him have contact.

Spero Fri 29-Mar-13 13:42:00

If he is a 'complete psychopath' then hopefully there is some pretty convincing evidence of this to go before the courts. If there is a serious risk he will hurt a child then the court will take this seriously. Presumably the LA will put its concerns in writing if your friend has already been advised by a Social Worker.

Spero Fri 29-Mar-13 14:14:21

Sorry, on iPad so don't know how to copy and paste but just been tweeted the guidelines for DV cases and legal aid - if you google the Resolution site (solicitors organisation) hopefully you will find them.

Spero Fri 29-Mar-13 14:15:44

Ah, it is all on the Ministry of Justice website, looks pretty comprehensive.

BerylStreep Fri 29-Mar-13 16:51:54

Thank you. You would hope that the court would take it into consideration, but even here on MN you hear of some dreadful decisions.

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