This month, Islington Law Centre has been awarded a grant of £20,367 by the Strategic Legal Fund for Refugee Children and Young People for a six month project. The grant is to fund the Law Centre to undertake pre litigation/research work with a view to developing challenges to the provisions of the Legal Aid and Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012 which restricts legal aid for migrants and refugees. It starts from the premise that the Government’s distinction between what constitutes immigration and asylum law, with legal aid continuing to be available for the latter, is flawed. The project will include an examination of current evidence from the passage of the LASPO Bill through parliament, gathering further evidence, consideration of legislation and case law, monitoring the drafting of the regulations, collating case studies and developing a strategic legal resource open to all. A collaborative approach is proposed, working with networks, other practitioners and NGOs to consider how to challenge the legal aid cuts and in evaluating a litigation strategy. The aim is to have a flexible evidence base ready that can be used in litigation and interventions when the Act comes into force, which can be used by Islington Law Centre and others.

The Strategic Legal Fund for Refugee Children and Young People is funded by The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and managed by MigrationWork.