The Law Society has warned that vulnerable people could be left with no access to the courts under ‘misleading’ plans put forward by the Ministry of Justice.
An MoJ consultation proposed removing legal aid from clients who do ‘not reside’ in the UK. At a meeting this week, two days before the end of the consultation, it said this exclusion would include clients who were physically present, but who had no legal right to reside in the UK, such as failed asylum seekers.
Law Society legal aid manager Richard Miller said the consultation was ‘misleading and lacking in clarity'. He said the true extent of the proposal, which was ‘significantly different’ from what appeared on the face of the paper, ‘is likely to result in families with young children and other vulnerable groups being left destitute and with no access to the courts.’
The MoJ said the changes would refocus resources on priority cases.