The Guardian reports that the government has been defeated over legal aid cuts to claimants appealing on a point of law against first-tier tribunal decisions. The House of Lords voted by 201 to 191 to reject secondary legislation limiting legal aid for first tier tribunal cases. The government had intended to make legal aid available only in cases where the tribunal judge was prepared to admit the decision was wrong (see previous story on 27 September 2012). The Lords supported what the Guardian refers to as a “rarely-used” “fatal motion” to defeat the government on this point.

Lord Bach explained to the Guardian that the government had failed to fulfil a commitment to make legal aid available for claimants to appeal on a “point of law” against first-tier tribunal decisions. Arguing that the government's proposals would deny claimants a fair hearing in point of law cases, Lord Bach described the government's attempt to limit legal aid as “rather shocking” and said that it would be “absurd not to allow the appellant to the first-tier tribunal at least some legal help to prepare for their point of law appeal.”

The Guardian report can be found here


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