Draft legislation that will allow legal aid for separated migrant children to deal with immigration and citizenship cases was published by the government last week (22 July 2019). If approved by parliament the legislation will reverse the removal of these cases from scope by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).
In a press release from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) (‘Separated migrant children to access legal aid more easily
’, 22 July 2019), Dr Sam Royston, policy and research director at The Children’s Society, one of the organisations that led the campaign to restore legal aid for separated migrant children, said: ‘Once approved, the changes will make sure this vulnerable group are able to access free advice and representation to resolve immigration issues and secure their citizenship.’
Post-LASPO, applications for exceptional case funding have had to be made to secure legal aid in such cases. According to the MoJ, ‘some of society’s most vulnerable children’ will be able to obtain help with their cases under the proposed legislation, which needs the approval of both Houses of Parliament to become law.