Clause 16 - Provision of evidence in support of protection or human rights claim

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 26th October 2021.

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Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) 10:45 am, 26th October 2021

I do not accept the hon. Gentleman’s latter point. I would expect there to be extensive training for decision makers on guidance when it is issued. Again, I make the point that the approach we are adopting is intended to be responsive to individual circumstances, and cases should be considered on a case-by-case basis. That is the entire approach we are taking here.

The shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate, raised the issue of refoulement, and I just want to be clear on this point. Again, individuals will not be removed if there is a risk of refoulement, and the provisions are drafted to ensure this.

On the point made by the hon. Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark about legal aid, it is generally not available to individuals who are seeking advice or assistance with citizenship applications or on nationality matters. That is because it is not an issue within scope of the legal aid scheme—in other words, it is not an issue that Parliament has expressly provided for in statute as something for which legal aid can be provided.

For any issue where legal aid is not available, individuals can apply for exceptional case funding. The test for this is whether, without legal aid, an individual’s human rights might be breached. The only group of people who can routinely receive advice on nationality and citizenship are separated migrant children, as that is provided for in statute. We will come on to later clauses in which the legal aid provisions in this Bill, which relate to priority removal notices, will no doubt be debated as part of our consideration.

The hon. Gentleman also asked me whether a child rights impact assessment has been carried out on clauses 16 to 23. As part of our obligations under the public sector equality duty, equality impact assessments have been completed in respect of these clauses, and those assessments incorporate a consideration of the impacts on children.