Following the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Gudanaviciene and other v DLAC , legal aid, other than exceptional funding under S10 LASPO, is no longer available for family reunion matters. This sadly means that for those successful in claiming that they would face a risk of persecution if returned to their home country are going to be unable to access legal assistance with applications for their family members to join them in the UK unless they have the means to pay for legal advice and representation. This is a blow for those who have to leave loved ones behind in dangerous situations, as they will now have to see further delays in being re-united with their families until they can cover the costs of any legal assistance that may be required.
With the cost of legal aid in these cases on the standard fee scheme being £234 per case one wonders if the original decision to restrict access to legal aid is designed solely to save money, as these fees must be a small proportion of the legal aid budget, or is there also another benefit to restricting access to legal aid in that it delays or perhaps in some cases prevents refugees from being able to bring family members into the UK. Given the Governments current immigration policy perhaps the second benefit is not a coincidence.
If you are interested in seeking advice or assistance with Refugee Family Reunion applications please feel free to give us a call on 01642 219222 or email us for advice on email@example.com.