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Legal Aid preserved for claims in respect of brain-damaged babies and cases of domestic violence

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The Government has announced a concession to the controversial and sweeping legal aid reforms proposed under the Legal aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. The Ministry of Justice has announced that claims for children who suffered brain damage at birth and those claiming in respect of domestic violence will still be entitled to financial support. The announcement comes as the Bill is headed for a vote in the House of Lords next week.

The Ministry said “The government is committed to supporting victims of domestic violence. We have laid an amendment to the legal aid bill which will put it beyond doubt that those who have suffered physical, psychological or financial domestic abuse will continue to receive a legal aid to help them to resolve any separation disputes over property or child contact.”

It went on “We also agree that clinical negligence claims in obstetrics cases which result in severe disability must receive legal aid. We have therefore brought forward an amendment which will make this clear in law. A safety net will continue to exist for other more serious and complex clinical negligence cases where there is a human rights issue.”

The Bill aims to remove many areas of public funding in the form of legal aid, instead pushing forward the alternative conditional fee agreement, which is commonly referred to as a ‘no win no fee’ arrangement. The concessions generally appear to have been welcomed by critics of the Bill, although there have been claims from some quarters that they do not go far enough.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

April 4, 2012 at 8:41 am

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , , ,

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