The recent Legal Aid and Sentencing of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 brought into operation in April 2013, very drastic changes to what kind of cases still qualify or no longer qualify for legal aid.
Most type of immigration cases now fall out of scope, which means you no longer qualify for legal aid irrespective of your financial circumstances.
As a general rule the following Immigration cases no longer qualify:
- applications and appeals based on art 8 right to a family life and or private life
- student applications and appeals where applicable
- employment related applications and appeals
- family reunion cases and visitors visas
- EEA applications and appeals
- nationality and citizenship
- some Judicial Review work
Cases where Legal Aid is still available are:
- asylum applications cases where art 2 and 3 of the ECHR is engaged
- bail and temporary admission applications for detained clients
- proceedings before the Special Immigration Appeal Commission – serious breach of National Security cases
- Domestic Violence applications
- Some victims of trafficking cases, but only from the point of getting a positive reasonable grounds determination
- Some Judicial Review work but only after permission has been granted and subject to the Legal Aid Agency assessment of your means.
However, even if your case falls in the last category, the grant of Legal Aid remains subject to being eligible and passing the means and merit test.
The most dramatic effect by the loss of legal aid has been felt by families, often in poor financial circumstances in particular due to the migrant family member’s inability to work, or the British Spouse not being able to work and claiming benefits, yet all is not lost. In most type of cases and if you are found ineligible, help is still available.
Please contact us for a discussion of your options and merit. We charge a fixed fee, so you know the exact costs from the start and can also help with setting up a payment plan to fit your needs.