Family Law Clinic for victims of domestic abuse in Hertfordshire

This evening’s BBC1 Panorama programme (Monday 18 August 2020) has exposed the growth in domestic abuse cases across the UK during the pandemic. Following national cuts to Legal Aid there is very limited funding available for family law advice, and many local law firms have been forced to stop offering family legal aid work altogether. This has left many victims of domestic abuse with limited opportunities for obtaining professional legal support.

The University of Hertfordshire’s Family Law Clinic has continued to provide free, professional family law advice for domestic abuse charity Future Living Hertford’s clients under the supervision of qualified lawyers throughout the pandemic. The clinic has continued to operate remotely, with clients meeting Student Advisers via Zoom, and free written legal advice prepared under the supervision of qualified lawyers.

Amanda Thurston, acting head of the Hertfordshire Law Clinic, said: “The University’s Family Law Clinic with Hertford Future Living provides a much-needed service to women and men who have been victims of domestic abuse. Hertfordshire Law Clinic will provide a vital service for the local community following the decimating cuts to legal aid in 2012 for issues relating to family law, particularly for families on lower incomes.”

Sandra Conte, Chief Executive at Future Living Hertford, commented: “COVID 19 restrictions had exacerbated the situation for victims of domestic abuse and increased the caseload at our charity by over 500%.  The continued free to access work of the Family Law Clinic during this challenging time has been a lifeline for many people finding themselves in abusive situations and not having recourse to public funds to receive solution focused advice.”