UK Ministry of Justice offers support package to legal aid providers

This initiative is set to ensure timely access to justice during the COVID-19 pandemic

UK Ministry of Justice offers support package to legal aid providers

The UK Ministry of Justice has offered legal aid practitioners a support package to ensure continued and timely access to justice in the face of coronavirus.

In a press release on Friday, the ministry outlined the details of the package, which aims to assist those needing legal aid particularly in criminal, civil and family cases. The initiatives included the expansion of scope of and the relaxation of evidence requirements in order to simplify access to hardship payments in crown court cases, as well as the cutting down of the threshold for work done from £5,000 to £1,000.

Moreover, the legal aid fees associated with first-tier tribunal immigration and asylum appeals would be aligned with the transition of Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service to a virtual medium.

“These measures are a clear indication of the important status of [legal aid practitioners] both in times of crisis and beyond and the role they play in ensuring the justice system continues to function effectively,” said Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland.

He also said that he would continue to collaborate with the sector on providing adequate representation and support to “the most vulnerable in society” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This move follows the decision of the ministry to consolidate essential court work into only a few priority buildings—a measure implemented on 30 March. The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) had also put on hold some debt repayments due from legal firms, and encouraged these firms to utilise financial aid options that are currently available.

As the situation develops, the ministry and the LAA will continue to work closely with legal aid providers in order to modify existing measures or implement other necessary ones.

Related stories

Free newsletter

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter service and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest breaking news, cutting edge opinion, and expert analysis affecting both your business and the industry as whole.

Please enter your email address below and click on Sign Up for daily newsletters from Australasian Lawyer.

Recent articles & video

Holding Redlich confirms role in $3bn super merger

Government announces counter-terrorism legislation

Lateral partner hires boost Ashurst's Asia offerings

Cornwalls adds migration offering after merger

NSW man faces charges after extremist online posts

Clifford Chance bolsters US securities law and debt offering with new partner in Hong Kong

Most Read Articles

Six make partner as Moray & Agnew looks ahead to 2022

Australian Unity Trustees' legal services head on making a difference as an elder law specialist

Baker McKenzie guides $729m renewables assets sale to Shell and ICG consortium

White & Case elevates six to counsel in Australia