Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill
08/09/11 20:06 Filed in: Legal Aid
The Legal Aid Bill aims to cut funding to legal aid and for some areas, such as immigration cases, remove funding for them completely. The Bill went through the Public Bill Committee on 06 September 2011.
There was no discussions relating to the removal of funding for immigration cases, and it appears that many want to avoid the word 'immigration' completely. That said, there was acceptance that there may be 'advice deserts' where some areas will have no to specialist lawyers. The closure of the RMJ and the IAS were highlighted as examples of that.
The Minister pointed out that immigration tribunals 'are designed to be user-friendly and interpreters are provided free of charge' as a way of countering the restriction to legal aid in such cases. He went on to make a point that legal aid will be retained for 'domestic violence immigration cases, cases before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission and immigration detention cases, including advocacy before the tribunal.'
The full debate and written submissions from concerned organisations, individuals and companies can be found here
Also, if you're interested how a bill for a new law, or a proposal to change an existing law, is presented for debate click here