Tower Hamlets Watch

No More Legal Aid for the Poor | April 29, 2013


I cannot believe our government have passed this legislation, but here are the changes in full it seems from the Citizens Advice Bureau

Changes to legal aid

Date: 27 March 2013

Civil legal aid helps to pay for the costs of getting legal advice if you’re on a low income. However, the government has made large cuts to the civil legal aid budget. This means from 1 April you’ll no longer be able to get civil legal aid for many types of problems that might affect your everyday life. These include:

Welfare benefit appeals

You’ll no longer be able to get legal aid to help you make an appeal against a decision on welfare benefits unless you’re making an appeal to the Upper Tribunal or higher courts.

Debt

You’ll no longer be able to get legal aid to help you with your debts unless a creditor is making you bankrupt or taking court action to evict you from your home

Housing

You’ll no longer be able to get legal aid to help you with housing problems unless:

there’s serious disrepair in your home
you’re homeless
you’re being evicted from your home
the council is taking action against you because of anti-social behaviour.

Employment

You won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with an employment dispute or go to an employment tribunal unless it’s a discrimination case.

Private family law

You won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with private family law problems unless you’re a victim or are at risk of domestic violence or there has been or is a risk of child abuse These include:

divorce
dissolution of civil partnership
financial disputes
property disputes
disputes over children.

Asylum support

If you’re an asylum seeker, you won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with asylum support unless you have applied for both housing and financial support.

Non-asylum immigration

You won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with an immigration application unless you:

have been detained
make an application under the domestic violence rules
make an application because you’re a victim of human trafficking.

Education

You won’t get legal aid to help with education problems unless the child or young adult has Special Educational Needs.

Consumer and general contract law

You won’t get legal aid for any action you want to take for consumer problems or problems you have with general contracts.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority cases

You won’t get legal aid to help with the costs of trying to get compensation because you’ve suffered a criminal injury.

Clinical negligence cases

You won’t get legal aid for most clinical negligence problems.
What will you still be able to get legal aid for

You’ll still be able to get legal aid for the following problems:

care proceedings
family mediation
asylum applications
mental health proceedings
community care cases
discrimination.

Civil Legal Advice helpline

The Civil Legal Advice national helpline on 0845 345 4345 provides specialist legal advice for people who are eligible for civil legal aid.

The service offers advice in six areas of law:

debt
education
discrimination
housing
family
welfare benefits appeals.

The helpline only offers advice on problems for which you can still get legal aid.

Legal aid for debt, discrimination and Special Educational Needs problems

If you need to apply for legal aid for a debt, discrimination or Special Educational Needs problem, you must apply through the telephone gateway service run by Civil Legal Advice on 0845 345 4345.

Financial eligibility for civil legal aid

There are also changes to who will qualify for civil legal aid, based on the amount of income and capital you have.

If you receive a passporting benefit, your capital will now be assessed to see if you’re eligible to get civil legal aid. Passporting benefits include:

Income Support
income-related Employment and Support Allowance
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
guarantee credit part of Pension Credit
Universal Credit.

There are also increases in the amount of contributions you’ll have to pay towards the cost of civil legal aid.

More about civil legal aid

Citizens Advice Bureau – Changes to Legal Aid

I cannot believe that us as a nation, collectively, we allowed this to happen. The amount of damage this is going to cause will be astronomical.

Also under the Financial eligibility section, does that mean that the disabled wont get Legal Aid anymore, as they are not mentioned as a passport benefit.

As around 60% of families in Tower Hamlets are living in abject poverty, then why have we not seen any of our representatives, councillors or MP’s make statements on this? try to create campaigns, march to parliaments etc. You know why because I dont think they give a damn about us.


Posted in Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. Thanks for posting this. People need to be reminded to keep all official documents and keep a record of any events that may be of future significance.
    If you are low-paid or on benefits the chances are high that you will need them some time in the near future.

    Comment by Chris K — April 29, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

  2. Thanks for your work. It is hard to believe this is happening. We have to hope for better days.

    Comment by R — June 27, 2013 @ 7:59 pm


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