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July 2014


Legal Action

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Five years ago feels like a very different age in the history of legal aid. At that time the total budget was just over £2 billion, and while we might have had our criticisms of the then government’s policies, it was at least prepared to celebrate the scheme’s 60th birthday. We reach the 65th anniversary of the founding of the modern legal aid system on 30 July with no recognition of this anniversary from the coalition government. It seems to LAG that legal aid is being treated as the forgotten and much-diminished aging relative of the welfare state.

A specially convened three-judge Divisional Court has found that the Lord Chancellor’s decision to introduce a residence test for civil legal aid eligibility is unlawful, that the Lord Chancellor exceeded his statutory powers when devising it and that the test would discriminate against non-UK residents without justification.


The decisions by the Director of Legal Aid Casework, in each of six immigration claims, not to grant legal aid under Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 s10 have been overturned.


This article reproduces a chapter from Legal Action Group's latest publication, 'Court of Protection Handbook: a user's guide', which was written by Steven Neary's father, Mark Neary.


'We are many; they are few'

July, 2014 by Fiona Bawdon

The leading civil liberties firm Birnberg Peirce had a brace of winners at last month’s Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) awards: newcomer Camilla Graham Wood; and legal aid champion Matt Foot. Both are stalwarts of the groundbreaking Justice Alliance (JA) campaign, which has mobilised support for legal aid in a way never seen before. Fiona Bawdon met them.

Law and practice

The resumption of this series of articles on developing trends within the Court of Protection’s jurisdiction and procedural matters of significance for practitioners coincides with the publication of LAG’s 'Court of Protection Handbook: a user’s guide'. Sophy Miles considers developments in Court of Protection practice during the first half of 2014. Part 2 of this article will appear in September 2014 Legal Action.

Law and practice

Recent developments in immigration detention and the law

July, 2014 by Janet Farrell and Jed Pennington

Janet Farrell and Jed Pennington continue their six-monthly series on significant developments in law and policy affecting immigration detainees. This article covers the provisions relating to detention in the Immigration Act (IA) 2014, as well as recent significant cases concerning the ‘statutory authority’ for detention, damages and costs.