April 1, 2013

Legal Aid changes

The Government are committed to reducing the Legal Aid bill to find the savings that government departments, including the Ministry of Justice, have to find.

Out of Scope

The following will be out of scope of legal aid

  • asylum support (except where accommodation is claimed);
  • consumer and general contract;
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority cases;
  • debt, except where there is an immediate risk to the home;
  • employment cases;
  • education cases, except for cases of Special Educational Needs;
  • housing matters, except those where the home is at immediate risk (excluding those who are “squatting”), homelessness assistance, housing disrepair cases that pose a serious risk to life or health and anti-social behaviour cases in the county court;
  • immigration cases (non-detention);
  • miscellaneous (specified matters):
  • appeals to the Upper Tribunal from the General Regulatory Chamber of the First- tier Tribunal,
  • cash forfeiture actions under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002,
  • legal advice in relation to a change of name,
  • actions relating to contentious probate or land law,
  • court actions concerning personal data, action under section 14 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996, and
  • legal advice on will-making for
    • those over 70
    • disabled people
    • the parent of a disabled person and
    • the parent of a minor who is living with the client, but not with the other parent, and the client wishes to appoint a guardian for the minor in a will;
  • private family law (other than cases where criteria are met regarding domestic violence or child abuse);
  • tort and other general claims, and
  • Welfare benefits; except for appeals in the Upper Tribunal; onward appeals on a point of law to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

Full details of what is still in the scope of Legal Aid and what isn’t can be found here.

This has increased focus on unbundling as a way of increasing access to justice.