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Reported Case

R oao Gundanaviciene and others v Director of Legal Aid casework [2014] EWHC 1840 (16 June 2014)

Date: 16/06/2014
Duncan Lewis, Reported Case Solicitors, R oao Gundanaviciene and others v Director of Legal Aid casework [2014] EWHC 1840

In the High Court of Justice- Queen’s Bench Division-Administrative Court

These six claims have been heard together pursuant to an order of Turner J made on 30 January 2014. Each challenges the refusal of the Director of Legal Aid Casework (whom I will refer to as the Director) to grant legal aid to the claimants. They raise common issues concerning the availability of legal aid in immigration cases under Section 10 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). A number of discrete issues have been identified. Some are common to a number of the claims and some depend on the circumstances of one or two of the claims but all will arise in many applications for legal aid by or on behalf of immigrants who wish to obtain a particular decision usually from the Home Office or an entry clearance officer or are pursuing an appeal against an adverse decision or are responding to an appeal against a favourable decision. The claimants contend that the policy adopted by the Director which applies guidance issued by the Lord Chancellor is wrong in law in being too restrictive. Further, each claimant asserts that in his or her case having regard to the circumstances the refusal to grant legal aid was wrong.

Mr Justice Collins held: “In the circumstances, the decision of the Director in each of the claims is quashed. I have indicated in individual claims whether I was of the view that legal aid should have been granted, but I will leave open to Mr Chamberlain to submit that in any in which I have indicated that view I should not so order. The Lord Chancellor's Guidance is in the respects I have indicated in my judgment unlawful. I think that the appropriate relief would be a declaration that in those respects it is unlawful, but I will leave counsel to make.“

 

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