Refugees: Legal Aid Scheme

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 21st June 2018.

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Photo of Ronnie Cowan Ronnie Cowan Scottish National Party, Inverclyde

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making legal aid available for refugee family reunion applications.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Legal aid is not generally available for UK residents to re-unite with their family members from overseas. Exceptional case funding may be available where the case triggers issues under the European Convention on Human Rights or EU law.

We are committed to providing clear guidance and application forms to support anyone going through this process so that, in most cases, applying for family reunion does not require specialist legal advice. We are also working with key partners, such as the British Red Cross and UNICEF, to further improve the process for considering family reunion applications so that applicants understand what is expected of them.

As the Lord Chancellor previously announced, we are conducting an evidence-based review of the changes made under LASPO (Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012), including legal aid provision for family reunion cases. The evidence gathering phase of the Post-Implementation Review (PIR) has commenced and we will publish our findings later this year.

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