The Supreme Court has today handed down judgment in the Public Law Project’s challenge to the government’s proposed ‘residence test’ for civil legal aid.  The judgment and press summary are here.

The proposed ‘residence test’ would have denied access to justice to the many people unable to show that they met its requirements. On 18 April 2016, at the end of the first day of the hearing, a seven-Justice Supreme Court had unanimously allowed the Public Law Project’s challenge to the test, accepting our argument that the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (“LASPO”) did not give the Lord Chancellor the power to introduce regulations that would exclude a group of people from civil legal aid on the basis of ‘residence.’ Lord Neuberger’s judgment, with which the other six Justices agree, sets out in detail the Court’s reasons for allowing the challenge.

The Public Law Project was represented by John Halford of Bindmans LLP, Michael Fordham Q.C., Ben Jaffey, and Naina Patel of Blackstone Chambers, and Alison Pickup of Doughty Street Chambers.

For enquiries please contact Ade Lukes on 020 7843 1266 or
1. The Public Law Project (PLP) is an independent, national legal charity which aims to improve access to justice for those whose access is restricted by poverty, discrimination or other similar barriers. The residence test case was brought in furtherance of PLP’s charitable objectives.

2. You can find the Divisional Court judgement here and the Court of Appeal judgment here.