SLF responds to Legal Aid changes

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) took effect on 1 April 2013. LASPO takes substantial areas of human rights and social welfare law "out of scope" for legal aid, including most private family law and non-asylum immigration. Legal Aid for welfare benefits, housing and education is also subject to major restrictions.

In response to LASPO, the SLF has made some changes to its criteria to ensure that potential strategic legal challenges will continue to be identified. While the focus of all applications must remain on developing or supporting strategic legal challenges, we will permit a small proportion of grants to fund advice and representation in the First Tier and Upper Tribunals. We will also consider applications to fund third party interventions in the First Tier and Upper Tribunals. This is only where:

  • No other funding is available
  • This is necessary to develop a strategic challenge
  • We have good evidence that the applicant has the capacity and expertise to run such challenges
  • There is a clear plan to develop the strategic work.

In addition, we have relaxed the requirements for solicitor applicants to the SLF to hold legal aid contracts. We will keep the situation under close review.

Please read our revised funding guidelines and speak to the SLF Project Manager if you have any queries.

Our thanks goes to our Expert Panel, funders and grantees who helped shape our approach.

It is likely that there will be challenges to LASPO in the courts, in which the SLF funded LASPO project at Islington Law Centre may play a part. For further details about the Islington Law Centre project contact Roopa Tanna on 020 7288 7664, or at


If you have any queries about the Strategic Legal Fund, please contact or call 0207 251 8383.

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