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May 2014

Following reforms in England, victims of domestic violence are finding it difficult to access Legal Aid

Women’s Aid, Welsh Women’s Aid and Rights of Women have published a joint report regarding the new eligibility criteria for Legal Aid in cases of domestic violence. According to the report, 6 out of 10 victims of domestic violence are unable to access Legal Aid.

Tags
Legal Aid

Solicitors and Barristers in England protest over Legal Aid cuts

In a move that has been reported in various parts media in a number of Solicitors and Barristers in England and Wales refused to attend Courts across the jurisdiction on the morning of the 06th January 2014. The reasons for doing so related to the proposed 30% cuts to Legal Aid fees about to be introduced by the government in criminal cases. There are also great concerns about the large number of categories of cases where Legal Aid will no longer be available.

Tags
Legal Aid

Important victory for eligibility of Legal Aid in England for those challenging decisions to detain them under the Mental Capacity Act

A firm of Solicitors in England and Wales has forced a concession from the Department of Justice regarding the provision of Legal Aid under the new system. A decision was taken to remove from eligibility patients who were challenging decisions by the authorities to detain them under the Mental Capacity Act.
 
London firm Creighton & Partners, acting pro bono, asked the Court of Protection to consider the legality of regulations introduced in April that stopped legal aid for a detained person once a court began considering the case.
 

Tags
Legal Aid

Muslim family loses challenge against decision not to intensively resuscitate family member

In a similar case, a devout Muslim family took a legal challenge against a NHS Trust on behalf of their father, who is in a minimally conscious state. The Trust had decided that it would not be in the father’s best interests to be intensively resuscitated or be admitted into intensive care if his condition deteriorated. 
The family sought to argue that the father’s suffering brought him closer to God.

Tags
Medical Law

Government’s decision to scrap Independent Living Fund unlawful

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) is a fund that allows severely disabled people to live in the community. It has a budget of £320 million. The government sought to abolish the fund. It stated that as most social care needs were now to be met by local authorities, they would be responsible for providing the resources for the fund. The ILF itself is essentially a ringfenced support fund. If it did not exist and had to be met from elsewhere, the applicants were concerned that such developments could lead to a reduction, or indeed loss, of financial support to live in the community.

Tags
Social Security

Travellers families win right to support throughout England and Wales

The case was taken on behalf of a three year old child who suffers from Down’s syndrome. The child comes from a family of fairground workers, who travel around the country during the peak season.

The county council in this case had told the family that once the family (and the child) left the council area, it was no longer responsible for providing the family with support. In the course of the proceedings, the council suggested that a fresh application for support is made to each council area once the family enter it.

Tags
Social Security, Travellers' Rights

Lgal challenge to the maximum cap on benefits payable fails

As part of the welfare reforms that are being implemented in England and Wales, there will be a maximum limit on the amount of benefits that can be claimed by any household. The £500-a-week cap affects housing benefit, child benefit and child tax credits.

Tags
Social Security

Department of Work and Pensions loses appeal against decisions on Right to Work schemes

The UK Supreme Court upheld a decision of the Court of Appeal that the government’s new ‘back to work’ schemes were unlawful, as the government had not provided a “”sufficient detailed prescribed description” of the schemes.

Tags
Social Security

Landlord isues eviction notices to all tenants receiing Housing Benefit

Fergus Wilson is a landlord who has a property portfolio of 1,000 properties in the Kent area of England. At the beginning of 2014, he decided to issue eviction notices to all tenants who were in receipt of Housing Benefit. In addition, he has instructed letting agents not to accept applications from those who are in need of Housing Benefit.
 

Tags
Housing Law

Scottish prisoners fail to overturn ban on voting in 2014 referendum

In another twist in the right of prisoners to vote, 3 Scottish prisoners have been unsuccessful in their application to overturn a ban on voting in this year’s independence referendum in Scotland.

The legislation as it relates to referenda is different to that which regulates elections in the UK. Under referendum legislation, the Scottish Parliament would be entitled to extend the right to vote to prisoners. However, it would seem that there is cross party support not to extend the franchise to prisoners for the purposes of this referendum.

Tags
Prisoners' Rights

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