DCA targets legal aid in asylum cases with new consultation

The Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) is launching a six-week consultation into proposed new legal aid arrangements for asylum seekers.

Under a new appeals system coming into force in April next year, asylum seekers will be able to challenge decisions of the Asylum & Immigration Tribunal (AIT) in the High Court if they believe an error has been made.

If a decision is reviewed by the High Court and referred back to the AIT, legal aid will be awarded at the end of the reconsideration process by the tribunal. Unsuccessful cases could also be awarded legal aid, as it will be awarded on the basis of whether the application for review was correctly made.

However appeals against Home Office asylum decisions will not be subject to the new arrangements.

The proposals are designed to deter appeal applications from those who simply want to delay the process.