Hannah Watkins, one of our trainee solicitors and a member of Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL), attended the YLAL meeting last night where further updates regarding the residence test were announced by Alison Pickup of Doughty Street Chambers. The Government has proposed a controversial legal aid ‘residence test' which would mean that anyone who could not prove they had been legally resident in the UK for 12 months would no longer be eligible for civil legal aid and therefore unable to get access to justice. Before the residence test came into force the Public Law Project (PLP), an independent, legal charity, applied for Judicial Review challenging the test on a number of grounds. In July 2014 the Administrative Court found that the test was indeed unlawful. Firstly the powers being used to bring the test into force were beyond what was permitted by law and secondly the test was unlawfully discriminatory. The Government appealed this decision and in November 2015 the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the Administrative Court. PLP then applied to the Supreme Court to appeal this decision and in February 2016 the Supreme Court granted permission. The hearing has now been listed for the 18 and 19 April 2016 with hopes that a decision will be made before the government bring the residency test into force. You can help fight against the Government’s attempts to further limit access to justice by making a contribution to the Public Law Project’s Fighting Fund. YLAL meet every second Wednesday of the month at 54 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LS. The next meeting will be on Wednesday 14 April 2016.

If you have a family law case you need assistance with, please contact Mavis on 0202 8885 7986 to arrange for an appointment with a solicitor in the family team.

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