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Refusal of legal aid held unlawful

Refusal of legal aid held unlawful

Legal Aid Agency logoIn a big win for legal aid lawyers and their clients, the High Court has held to be unlawful the refusal of legal aid in six test cases and has additionally held unlawful the guidance applied by the Legal Aid Agency in refusing legal aid:

It follows from what I have so far said that in my view the Guidance is defective in that it sets too high a threshold and fails to recognise that Article 8 does apply even in immigration cases and, despite the exclusion of Article 6, carries with it procedural requirements which must be taken into account.

The case is Gudanaviciene & Ors v Director of Legal Aid Casework & Anor [2014] EWHC 1840 (Admin). Permission was granted to the Legal Aid Agency and Lord Chancellor to appeal to the Court of Appeal so, while this is a nice boost for the weekend of legal aid lawyers everywhere, it is not likely to be the final say the courts have on the matter.

Colin Yeo
Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder and editor of the Free Movement immigration law website.

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