GET IN TOUCH : 01484 821 500

In October 2022, the Ministry of Justice announced that the legal aid rules concerning domestic abuse evidence would be broadening. Regulation 33 of the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) 2012 as amended by The Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 stated that a letter or report from an appropriate health professional would only be sufficient as long as the Applicant had been examined in person. This was largely criticised as it was restrictive, however with the change implemented on 1 March 2023, domestic abuse applicants may find it easier to obtain such evidence from health professionals as examinations will no longer need to take place face-to-face.

From March 2023, health professionals have the authority to examine domestic abuse victims by video or telephone appointments for the purposes of providing a letter or report as supporting evidence of domestic abuse for legal aid applications. This change is said to remove ‘hurdles’ for Applicants particularly as telephone and video call appointments have become more common within GP practices. This will also ensure that delays resulted from Applicants waiting for face-to-face appointments are removed and therefore it will most likely speed up the application process for solicitors. MP Mike Freer predicts that this change will contribute in ensuring that legal aid is accessible to a greater number of Applicants as he estimates that ‘2 million more people will have access to legal aid in civil cases’.

It is extremely encouraging to see that positive changes are being implemented to support legal aid Applicants particularly after the government has faced years of criticism and demands to reduce the restrictions following the introduction of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Although the Law Society continue to urge the government to make further changes, they have also recognised the positive impact that this rule change is likely to have for Applicants. Law Society President Lubna Shuja expressed that ‘Victims used to have to produce a letter from a health professional, but it would only be accepted by the Legal Aid Agency if the meeting had been face-to-face, at a time where medical appointments are increasingly online. This change to legal aid recognises the additional hurdle created by the requirement for evidence of face-to-face medical appointments.’

At Ramsdens Solicitors, we are a firm that is proud to be appointed by the Legal Aid Agency to provide to Legal Aid to our clients within family matters. If you require further information or would like to discuss whether you would be eligible for legal aid funding in respect of your family matter, our experienced family team at Ramsdens are here to assist.

If you wish to make an enquiry, please call 0800 147720 or alternatively email me at or contact us via our online enquiry form.