On 1 April 2013, new legal aid changes were introduced through the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The act has significantly reduced the scope of legal aid available in civil cases.
Legal aid in immigration and asylum cases was reduced to a few specific areas of immigration law namely:
1) Asylum applications and appeals;
2) Certain asylum support issues;
3) Advice and representation for challenges to immigration detention (e.g. bail applications);
4) Advice and representation in certain domestic violence related cases where the immigration status of a migrant victim of domestic violence is dependent on his or her partner, and that partner is either a British citizen, settled person (i.e. has indefinite leave) or has terminated their partnership with from someone exercising European free movement rights;.
5) Judicial review applications;
6) Advice and representation for proceedings before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission which deals with deportation, exclusion and deprivation of citizenship cases where information is to be kept confidential for reasons of national security;
7) Advice and representation if you are an identified victim of trafficking.
British Quakers formally declared their opposition to unfair Government cuts in 2011 because of their impact on the poorest in society, especially those unable to work. The impact of cuts to legal aid has hit many such people, particularly migrants on low incomes or unable to work who can no longer pay for representation to help with the most important issues in their lives, like fighting their removal from the UK, or being united with their family members overseas. Continue reading “New legal aid cuts hit migrants – and what you can do to help”