Legal aid for children in immigration

13 July 2018

The Bar Council has responded to the Government's announcement that it will seek to amend the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 to bring immigration matters for unaccompanied and separated children into scope of legal aid.

Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC, said:"This decision means that some very vulnerable people should now find it easier to obtain the legal advice and representation they need in order to resolve their immigration cases fairly and in accordance with the rule of law.

"This year, particularly through the Windrush scandal, the public has been made aware of how poor the Home Office's administration and decision-making can be in far too many cases, and of the terrible impact this can have on the lives of those who are entitled to rights and protection under UK law.  Legal aid is essential if rights and the protection of the law are to be meaningful, as judicial review may be the only way that those who have been treated unfairly can force the Home Office to abide by the law and to apply it correctly.

"But while this decision is very welcome indeed, it will have no impact on the dearth of legal aid for many other vulnerable groups, not only in immigration cases, but across a wide range of areas of law, and in cases which may have a fundamental impact on their lives and the lives of those closest to them."

ENDS

Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

  2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board