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17 July 2018

Campaign successfully wins legal aid for unaccompanied children

A long campaign has won the return of legal aid for uncaccompanied migrant children.

From The Children’s Society:

The Children’s Society five year-long legal challenge and campaign in collaboration with Islington Law Centre, Brick Court Chambers and Doughty Street Chambers and other civil society organisations, has helped to bring about change.

The Society’s ‘Cut Off From Justice’ research estimated that thousands of vulnerable children have been denied legal aid since new legislation came into force in 2013 which, in effect, restricted the right to this support to asylum claims.

Only a tiny fraction of children’s cases have been able to access legal aid through the so-called ‘safety net’ of Exceptional Case Funding. But as the Children’s Society research and experience from services demonstrated, legal aid is a vital lifeline in ensuring these children can access justice.

But today, the Government has published a statement in parliament confirming that they will bring legal aid back into scope for separated and unaccompanied children in their immigration cases.

This is brilliant news and an important change that will go a long way to protecting some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged children in our communities. We commend the Government on accepting that these young people should be entitled to legal aid and we will work with them to implement changes made as quickly as possible.

Read the full press release here.