Changes to cross-examination in domestic abuse cases

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The Guardian reports today that proposals to prevent ex-partners from cross examining victims of domestic abuse have moved forward once again.

Recent campaigning has seen the press, womens’ rights groups and victim support groups calling for a change in the law. Presently, someone cannot be cross-examined by their ex-partner in a criminal case- but there is no such prohibition in the family court.

Notably, the report states that the changes will allow a judge to appoint a legal aid lawyer in relevant cases, to prevent such cross-examinations from taking place. The Prisons and Courts Bill will therefore be eagerly anticipated and its provisions closely scrutinised when it is published shortly.

Polly Neate, the Chief Executive of Womens’ Aid, has hailed the ‘enormous step forward’ and hopes that it will also become part of the rules which govern child contact proceedings linked with domestic abuse matters.

It is still possible to obtain Legal Aid in family cases if you have been the victim of domestic abuse. You will need to obtain evidence that you or your children were at risk of harm from an ex-partner (such as a letter from your GP or the Police.)

Our experienced Family Law department can assist in these types of cases, including advice on your eligibility for Legal Aid. Please call 0113 284 5000 to be put through to Ruth and her team.


 


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