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EHRC examines whether discrimination victims on lower incomes are denied justice

15 November 2018

Following changes to legal aid in 2012, funding for most discrimination cases can only be accessed via the Legal Aid Agency’s telephone gateway (CLA). 

Closing date: 30 November 2018 at 23:59

Evidence suggests that, following the introduction of the gateway, provision of initial legal aid for discrimination cases dropped by nearly 60%. 

Since 2015 the number of discrimination cases referred to CLA specialist advisers has continued to fall, from 3,558 in 2014 to 2015 to 2,608 in 2016 to 2017.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have launched an inquiry to investigate whether changes to legal aid funding have left some victims of discrimination unable to access justice in England and Wales.

The inquiry will look at whether legal aid for discrimination cases provides effective access to justice for people who have suffered discrimination. It will look at:

  • how discrimination cases are funded by legal aid

  • how many people receive legal aid funding for discrimination claims

  • whether there are barriers to accessing legal aid

  • whether some people experience specific difficulties in accessing legal aid

  • the operation of the telephone service as the access point for most discrimination advice

  • if legal aid provides effective access to justice for people who complain of discrimination

  • whether improvements could be made to reduce barriers and improve access to justice

The findings of the inquiry will inform the UK government’s review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).

EHRC inquiry: Legal aid for victims of discrimination