UK immigration lawyers to be hit by cuts?

04 Aug 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK immigration lawyers are among those who could be hit by the government's budget cuts.

Solicitors have predicted that at least a third of law centres will close if the government goes ahead with its planned reductions to legal aid funding this autumn, the Law Gazette reported.

The government intends to cut legal aid rates by ten per cent across the board from October, despite the fact that the country's largest not-for-profit social welfare law firm, Law for All, has just gone into administration as a result of legal aid issues. The closure follows the failure of the UK's Immigration Advisory Service, which went into administration earlier this month, citing legal aid cuts as the reason.

Julie Bishop, director of the Law Centre Federation, explained that around 18 of the 56 law centres in the country are particularly likely to suffer under the cuts since around 60 per cent of their revenue is derived from legal aid.

Ms Bishop explained that the changes to the legal aid budget will reduce the number of clients helped by law centres from 120,000 a year to just 40,000. She told the publication: "Where will those unrepresented 80,000 go? Their problems will get worse, which will cost the government more."