Chair of the Bar Council Richard Atkins QC has commented on draft legislation that will prevent alleged abusers from cross examining their victims in the family court.
He said: “It is absolute common sense that victims of abuse should not be interrogated by those who have abused them. We are pleased that the Government is now taking action to correct what has been a gap in the law for too long. The criminal courts have had measures in place for some time in certain classes of case to prevent abusers questioning those they have abused. It is regrettable that it has taken until now for this approach to reach the family courts. The effect of the Legal Aid and Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) cuts clearly exacerbated the situation in the family courts, where so many people have been denied legal aid and have had to represent themselves. The outcome of the Government’s review of LASPO is expected very soon and we await to see what further action, if any, the Government is planning to take.”