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Successful challenges on legal aid

On 13 June 2014 judgement was handed down in the case of Gudanaviciene & Ors v Director of Legal Aid Casework & Anor. These were successful judicial review challenges to the Legal Aid Agency's refusal to grant exceptional cases funding (ECF) in six cases under Section 10 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The cases raised common issues concerning the availability of ECF in immigration cases. Islington Law Centre's SLF funded research work on LASPO assisted in identifying key potential arguments in the challenges and was of particular value in two of the cases, those involving refugee family reunion and trafficking. The judge found that the refusal of exceptional case funding was unlawful in all six cases and that refugee family reunion was in scope of legal aid under LASPO. Read the full judgement here.