Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

Separated migrant children to have easier access to legal aid in Britain

Once passed, the draft legislation will bring immigration and citizenship matters into the scope of legal aid

A shop at the Jungle mirant camp in Calais, France, spray-painted with spray-painted with the words "Please do not destroy the Jungle" , October 12, 2016. French authorities are preparing to raze the Calais "Jungle" camp and hav begun moving some unaccompanied children to Britain. Philippe Huguen / AFP
A shop at the Jungle mirant camp in Calais, France, spray-painted with spray-painted with the words "Please do not destroy the Jungle" , October 12, 2016. French authorities are preparing to raze the Calais "Jungle" camp and hav begun moving some unaccompanied children to Britain. Philippe Huguen / AFP

Draft legislation has been put before the British Parliament to make it easier and quicker for separated migrant children to apply for legal aid.

Once the new law is passed, it will ensure that some of society’s most vulnerable children can more quickly secure legal advice and representation.

It will bring immigration and citizenship matters into the scope of legal aid for those under 18 who are not in the care of a parent or guardian, or who are being cared for by a local authority.

Previously, separated migrant children making non-asylum immigration applications to stay in the UK would have been required to apply for legal aid through the exceptional case funding scheme.

This is intended to ensure legal aid is accessible in all cases where there is a breach or risk of a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, or enforceable EU law.

The British Ministry of Justice worked with the Children’s Society and other charities on the amendment and plans to continue collaborating with them when the law comes into force.

“The Children’s Society is pleased the government is moving forward in their promise to reinstate legal aid for thousands of separated and unaccompanied children for all of their immigration and citizenship cases," said Dr Sam Royston, the charity's police and research director.

“It will ensure this can be done without the stress of applying for exceptional case funding, or trying to navigate complex immigration rules and human rights law all alone.”

Updated: July 23, 2019 09:08 AM

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