The Ministry of Justice’s proposal that children who have been in the UK for less than a year would be denied legal aid has come under attack by the Human Rights Committee.
In a report published today, The Committee warns that such a proposal would breach the UK’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on The Rights of The Child. The measure would leave overseas-born children unable to take part in cases involving them or affecting their lives. It would also sit at odds with the UK’s own Children Act 1989, and its current policy on The Voice of the Child.
The recommendations of The Committee’s report include making all children exempt from the residence test and warns that four specific groups of children would be affected: unaccompanied children who have entered the UK; undocumented children; children with special educational needs or disabilities, and those cases under the relevant sections of the Children Act 1989.
There also does not appear to be a sound evidence base for the proposal, which claims to be a money saver. That claim, as we mention, has not been properly substantiated at this time.
You can see who heads up the Joint Committee on Human Rights, here.