Divisional Court rejects legal aid ‘residence test’

16 Jul 2014 | by Caroline Sweeney

The Divisional Court has held that the government’s proposed ‘residence test’ for civil legal aid is unlawful. In a case brought by the Public Law Project, the Court ruled unanimously that the test was outside the scope of powers granted by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 because it introduced a criterion which had “nothing to do with need”. The Court also held that residence was “not a lawful ground for discriminating between those who would otherwise be eligible for legal assistance.”

Eric Metcalfe acted for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner which was granted leave to intervene in support of the Public Law Project’s case.

Please click to view the judgment in R(Public Law Project) v Secretary of State for Justice [2014] EWHC 2365 (Admin)http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2014/2365.html