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Social welfare law

Wed, 13/02/2013 - 16:30

The topic of this meeting was “Life after the legal aid cuts: social welfare law”. The meeting was addressed by a panel of speakers with wide-ranging experience of social welfare law: Lord Low of Dalston, Patrick Torsney (creator of, Margie Butler (Chief Executive of Mary Ward Legal Centre), Giles Peaker (Anthony Gold Solicitors), James Sandbach (Citizens Advice), and Lord Bach.


The Legal Aid Cuts - questions to Lord McNally

Tue, 22/01/2013 - 16:30

Lord McNally, Minister of State for Justice and (then) legal aid Minister, addressed the meeting on the Government’s legal aid cuts. This provided a valuable opportunity for the audience to question Lord McNally directly on this and make submissions on areas of concern.


2012 LASPO regulations

Wed, 07/11/2012 - 16:30

This meeting considered the series of statutory instruments which were being made at the time under LASPOA 2012. In particular, the discussion focused on the (then draft) Civil Legal Aid (Merits Criteria) Regulations 2013 and the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) Regulations 2012. Very strong concerns were raised over a number of aspects of these: in particular, the introduction of a mandatory telephone gateway to access some areas of civil legal aid, and strict evidential requirements for proving domestic violence in order to gain civil legal aid on this ground.

In addition, concerns were raised over the effect of a provision in the draft Merits Regulations which appeared to limit the scope of legal aid for public law (judicial review) claims extremely narrowly, requiring an applicant to have exhausted all other means of challenging a decision affecting them, rather than all reasonable avenues. Following a successful challenge in the House of Lords, this was subsequently amended.[1]


[1] The Lords debate can be read here: The relevant provision is reg 53(b) of the Merits Criteria Regulations, as amended by the Civil Legal Aid (Merits Criteria) (Amendment) Regulations 2013:



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