Legal Aid for Emergency Representation  

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Sometimes justice cannot wait.

Our clients successfully challenged the failure of the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) to backdate funding for urgent work properly undertaken. This might be in cases such as last minute/no notice removals, where our clients, often asylum-seekers, are to be returned to countries where they will face persecution.

While the case revolved around legal aid remuneration and procedure, its real world consequences are difficult to overstate; affecting literally thousands of people who urgently need urgent legal assistance to challenge decisions which may cause them irreversible harm, or even their lives.

The previous regime for emergency legal aid funding created the unacceptable risk that vulnerable individuals in need of immediate representation may be denied access to justice, and law firms providing legal aid representation were wary of undertaking urgent work on behalf of their clients if funding cannot be backdated.

As a result of the litigation, the Government agreed, in open correspondence, to amend the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012 to expressly allow for legal aid certificates to be backdated to the date of application for legal aid.

This means that legal practitioners can be confident of being remunerated for work properly undertaken where they could not wait for a legal aid certificate, which in turn means that they are more likely to take on clients who are in dire need of legal advice and assitance.

We are particularly grateful to the following firms and organisations for their invaluable assistance in providing evidence in support of the claim: Bindmans, Broudie Jackson Canter, Deighton Pierce Glynn, Legal Aid Practitioners Group, Leigh Day, and the Public Law Project.

See our press release for more information.