Justice Minister, Naomi Long has commenced a waiver of the legal aid financial eligibility test for victims of domestic abuse who need to respond to an application by their abuser.
Section 28 of the Domestic Abuse and Civil Proceedings Act (Northern Ireland) 2021 provides a waiver which improves access to justice for victims of domestic abuse involved in contact, residence, specific issues and prohibited steps orders and will help to reduce the financial impact of these cases on families.
The Justice Minister said: “Since becoming Justice Minister, I have focused on priorities of tackling domestic abuse in all its forms and supporting victims. Commencing this provision is another positive move towards delivering on those priorities.
“Anyone can be the victim of domestic abuse and anyone can be a perpetrator. By waiving the financial eligibility test we are ensuring that all victims have access to support they need and deserve when standing against their abusers in these types of civil proceedings and reducing the financial impact on families.”
The commencement order allows for the waiver to come into effect immediately.
Guidance setting out the evidential test that will be used to enable people to demonstrate their eligibility for the waiver has been published at the publication section of this website
Notes to editors:
- The commencement of Section 28 of the Domestic Abuse and Civil Proceedings Act (Northern Ireland) 2021 provides for a discretionary waiver of the legal aid financial eligibility test for a victim of domestic abuse who needs to respond to Article 8 Children Order proceedings brought by their abuser.
- Guidance has been issued to the Director of the Legal Services Agency on the implementation of the waiver. The guidance sets out the evidential test that will be used to enable people to demonstrate their eligibility for the waiver, and provides the approach to determination of contributions payable by beneficiaries of the waiver. The Guidance is available at the publication section of this website
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