Last month, Penny, in her capacity as Chair of the Law Society Family Committee, drafted a joint letter with representatives of Women’s Aid and Resolution to the Lord Chancellor raising the issue of cross-examination by alleged domestic abuse perpetrators of their alleged victim in family law cases.
The letter to the Lord Chancellor highlighted that this type of cross examination – which can be seen as perpetuating abuse – is no longer allowed in criminal cases. Other points included:
There should be no question of ‘finding parliamentary time’ to introduce the necessary legislation covering family courts as everyone, including the government agrees this must change; and
When thinking about restoring legal aid, the provision of legal aid to alleged perpetrators (which is one thing for which the Law Society is campaigning) would assist because then the cross examination would be done by a lawyer, not the abuser.
Penny’s comments on the response are:
“While we appreciate the Lord Chancellor’s interest in the matter and the time taken to get back to us, it would be great to have a date for the legislation that would bring the already agreed provision into force. The time must be found by parliament to address this important issue”.