We have today issued a joint statement with Public Law Project (PLP) following the Government’s response to the consultation on immigration legal aid fees, published on 20 December 2022, when it also laid The Civil Legal Aid (Immigration Interviews (Exceptions) and Remuneration) (Amendment) Regulations 2022.
The summary of our statement is as follows:
“We are glad to see the Government has taken on our feedback on two matters: lowering the escape fee threshold (to double rather than triple the fixed fee) for legal help cases, and the inadequacy of the proposed £75 of remuneration for advice on referral to the National Referral Mechanism, which the Government has doubled.
However, we are concerned that the Government intends to proceed with proposals which could negatively impact the sustainability of the immigration legal aid sector and make it harder for individuals to obtain the legal representation they need. This includes the use of fixed fees for some legal aid services. In our response, we expressed concerns that the proposed fixed fees would result in practitioners not being adequately remunerated for their work. This would place practitioners under pressure to compromise the level of preparation, representation and client care they provide, and would ultimately make taking on legally aided work unviable. The consultation also fails to address the fundamental issues with the sustainability of the immigration legal aid sector.”
Read our response in full below.
The Government has today published the Terms of Reference for an Economic Analysis of Civil Legal Aid, which notes the ‘general aim is to conclude the outcome by 31 March 2024’. However, legal aid rates require urgent review, adjustment for inflation, and increases. This is not a matter which can wait until the implementation of any findings and recommendations of the Civil Legal Aid Review, in 2024 or beyond. Urgent interim measures are required to secure the sustainability of the immigration legal aid market. We would urge the Government to accept our recommendations and engage with us on these matters.
- Document Date
- Monday January 30, 2023