Recent Legal Aid changes

Recent Legal Aid Changes

Changes to legal aid (sometimes known as public funding) were implemented in April by the Ministry of Justice as an attempt to curtail the £2bn legal aid costs that England accumulates each year.

What’s changed?

An income threshold has been introduced. Those who have a disposable income of over £37,500 are no longer eligible to receiving legal aid in the crown court. Those who are eligible to receive legal aid no longer have the option to choose who represents them.

The type of cases eligible for legal aid support have also changed. People in the below situations will no longer be eligible to receive legal aid:

– You are no longer able to receive legal aid to help you with your debts (however charities such as StepChange or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau may be able to help)

– Housing (expect for issues relating to serious disrepair, eviction, homelessness or if the local council is taking action against you due to antisocial behavior)

– Clinical negligence cases will no longer be eligible.

– General contract law and consumer law cases will no longer be eligible for legal aid

Other restrictions include:

– Anyone who has been living in the UK for less than a year will not be able to receive legal aid ( this includes people who may have been trafficked into the country for exploitation)

– If you are entitled to legal aid, you will no longer be able to choose who represents you

– Prisoners already serving sentences will no longer be able to use legal aid to contest their living conditions or treatment

– Family law has also been affected by these changes, the exception being in cases of domestic abuse.

Require more information?

If you need legal advice you can contact SA Legal for free legal advice. If we’re unable to help, you will be referred to a qualified solicitor or barrister as required

The government have published this online tool which can be used to indicate if a person is eligible for legal aid. They also provide basic information about legal aid, here.