Current legal aid regulations requires that all assets held, including equity held in the family home, are assessed as to eligibility for legal aid. However, many victims are not able to sell the property to release funds or access funds that are jointly owned with their perpetrator (indeed, perpetrators may use their joint ownership as another tool with which to control, coerce, and abuse their victim). As a result, under the current criteria many victims are unable to access legal aid and also are unable to access their shared financial assets to purchase legal support to obtain the protective injunctions they need. A victim of abuse is currently seeking judicial review of this criteria when considering legal aid www.theguardian.com/law/2020/jun/09/domestic-violence-legal-aid-judicial-review-cross-examine-partner-court
The unintended consequences of this criteria is devastating for victims of domestic abuse, and we are hoping the current court case will result in a review of the legal aid criteria.