Legal aid financial eligibility test waived for Northern Ireland victims of domestic abuse
The legal aid financial eligibility test has been waived in Northern Ireland for victims of domestic abuse who need to respond to an application by their abuser.
Justice minister Naomi Long yesterday commenced section 28 of the Domestic Abuse and Civil Proceedings Act (Northern Ireland) 2021, which aims to improve access to justice for victims of domestic abuse involved in contact, residence, specific issues and prohibited steps orders.
Guidance published by the Department of Justice sets out the evidential test that will be used to enable people to demonstrate their eligibility for the waiver.
“Since becoming justice minister, I have focused on priorities of tackling domestic abuse in all its forms and supporting victims,” Mrs Long asid.
“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.