High court rules legal aid residence test unlawful – Refuge responds

An attempt by the Government to introduce a residence test for legal aid was today struck down by the high court on the grounds that it is discriminatory and unlawful. Read more


Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive, RefugeSandra Horley CBE, chief executive of national domestic violence charity Refuge, says:

“I am pleased that the high court has struck down proposals to introduce a ‘residence test’ requirement for legal aid on the grounds that it would be discriminatory and unlawful.  Refuge had serious concerns about this proposal, which would prevent the most vulnerable people in society from accessing legal protection – including victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.

When survivors of violence and abuse make the extraordinarily brave step of speaking out against their abusers, it is vital that they are supported by the full force of the law.  Attempting to restrict legal aid on the basis of ‘residency’ would deny life-saving protection to many victims.

It is now up to the House of Lords to ensure that these measures are dropped when it votes on this issue next week. I urge members of the Lords to consider the court’s ruling and to safeguard the right to justice for all victims of violence and abuse.”