As MPs and Peers prepare to vote to approve the Government’s controversial new Residence test for legal aid, JUSTICE expresses concern about its legality.
By way of summary, JUSTICE is concerned that these changes are unnecessary and ill-considered. The changes, in our view, are incompatible with the right to the equal protection of the law and the right to equal treatment protected by Article 14 ECHR and the HRA 1998. We consider that there are significant questions to be raised about their legal basis.
Our concerns are echoed in recent reports by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Committee.
Read JUSTICE’s full briefing to MPs and Peers here.
UPDATE: JUSTICE joined over 30 other leading NGOs, charities and other organisations in a joint statement of reasons not to approve the residence test. This statement was published in anticipation of the House of Lords vote on the motion to approve the test, scheduled for 21 July 2014. The motion to approve was withdrawn following the decision of the High Court in PLP v Secretary of State for Justice on 15 July 2014, that the residence test would be ultra vires LASPO and discriminatory.
Our Director of Human Rights Policy summarises the judgment for the UK Human Rights blog here.