ntroducing a proposed residence test for legal aid will lead to local authorities paying tens of millions of pounds to support children in care and prevent increased homelessness, campaigners have warned the Ministry of Justice.
They are opposing government cost-saving plans to withdraw funding for legal representation from those resident in the UK for less than a year. Any money saved from the legal aid bill, they argue in a report on the impact of the change, will simply be shifted to council tax payers.
The concerns are backed by the Children’s Society and the rebel former Liberal Democrat minister Sarah Teather, who says the test will stop “some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society” from obtaining access to justice. The MoJ says that legal aid would still be available for asylum claims and victims of trafficking.