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    UK High Court Rules Legal Aid Restrictions on Immigration Cases as Unlawful

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    UK High Court ruled on Monday that United Kingdom's legal aid guidance allowing only exceptional immigration cases access to legal aid is restrictive and unlawful.

    MOSCOW, December 15 (Sputnik) — The United Kingdom's legal aid guidance allowing only exceptional immigration cases access to legal aid is restrictive and unlawful, the UK High Court ruled Monday.

    "The judge held that the Guidance was unlawful in that it misstated: (i) the circumstances in which legal aid in civil cases must be made available under section 10(3) of LASPO [Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012]," the ruling published on the UK Justice Ministry's website stated.

    The High Court referred to the guidance issued by Justice Secretary Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling as "a set of carefully defined and restrictive conditions as to the matters in scope." The High Court also ruled that withholding legal aid would result in "unfairness in proceedings" and sent the wrong message that legal aid was available only in a handful of extreme cases.

    The Ruling made further reference to six exceptional civil cases and overturned the decision to refuse them legal aid.

    "The bases for the decisions to refuse exceptional funding were woefully flawed," the ruling read in relation to one of the six cases involving an immigrant mother with four children who had been in the UK for over 15 years.

    According to a report by the BBC, figures from the justice ministry indicated that of 1,500 applications for exceptional legal aid funding, only 57 were granted. The overruled guidance was implemented amid the UK government's plans to cut legal aid funding from 2.1 billion pounds to 350 million pounds (about $3.3 billion to $548 million) by 2015.

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