As a result of Judicial Review proceedings that our hub, MiCLU and Islington Law Centre, was instructed to bring by The Children’s Society (TCS), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice Lucy Frazer announced that the government would bring immigration advice and representation for unaccompanied and separated children back into the scope of legal aid.

TCS and MiCLU began work on the challenge in 2013 when the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) came into force, removing immigration (non-asylum) advice from the scope of legal aid.  It has been a long road, and an enormous amount of work. Evidence gathered from work with pro bono partners, including Kids in Need of Defense UK partners, informed the detailed evidence which was a crucial part of the case.

The TCS case recognises the vulnerability of unaccompanied and separated children, and the role of legal aid in protecting them.  However, MiCLU’s work, including its work with Kids in Need of Defense UK has shown that children in families are vulnerable too, and that their needs are often ignored.  The work we do with our pro bono partners remains as vital as ever, as we work together to ensure that the voices of children in families are heard, and that the Home Office is held to account for poor decisions which affect children’s lives. 

Our Kids in Need of Defense UK work also provides an important evidence base so that we can be more than the sum of our parts. We can collate a picture of the impact of the current immigration and funding regime on children’s rights which may found future strategic litigation which benefits our client group.

For further information please visit MiCLU’s blog.