The government just rejected a petition which called on them to make sure people who enter the UK illegally are not eligible for legal aid.
In their response to the petition, which secured 12,242 signatures, an official response said: “The Government has no current plans to change how legal aid eligibility is determined. The nationality of an individual, their immigration status, or the way in which someone entered the UK, does not have any bearing on their ability to access legal aid.”
This means that tens of thousands of illegal migrants will be able to access legal aid, including those coming in order to abuse our asylum system paying people smugglers to travel here without permission from safe countries such as France.
The effect can only be to hugely encourage illegal asylum abuse – and with taxpayer money.
In another parliamentary answer, the government said (of those illegal entrants who are trying to fight off attempts to send them to Rwanda): ‘Funding for legal aid is on a demand led basis” (Question by Daniel Kawczynski (Con) (Shrewsbury and Atcham): 19599 – June 2022).
So effectively open-ended / unlimited legal advice (funded by the hard-press taxpayer), including for those breaking into the UK. This in the midst of mounting asylum abuse, age fraud and public safety issues created by the inability and unwillingness of authorities to properly check those arriving on unauthorised dinghies and lorries.
Remember that more than 130,000 people have come to the UK illegally by air, road or sea since the start of 2018 (not including many thousands who overstay their visas).
For further context, an average of just under £35 million per year of taxpayer money is spent on legal aid for asylum seekers in the past decade.
This in addition to an average of £4 million per year on non-asylum claims since 2013. In total £585 million of taxpayer money has been spent on immigration legal aid claims since 2009, including £134 million on asylum legal aid since the small boats crisis began in 2018.
See graph below, which is based upon these Ministry of Justice statistics (see table 5. 3).