Jo Wilding launches 'Droughts and Deserts: a report on the immigration legal aid market'

Friday 14 June 2019

The report, launched on 12 June, was written by Dr Jo Wilding of Garden Court and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Jo practises in asylum and immigration, including trafficking, unlawful detention and damages for false imprisonment. She has just completed a PhD on legal aid in asylum and immigration at Brighton Business School and is currently on sabbatical.

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A new report demonstrates the ‘advice droughts’ in England and Wales, where legal advice appears to be available but would-be clients have no access in practice. It happens because the standard fee, delayed payments and at-risk funding force good-quality providers to reduce their capacity, to limit their legal aid losses to the amount they can raise in subsidy from non-legal aid work.

It also shows how the current market system drives down quality in the overall market by forcing high-quality organisations to reduce either their quality or their market share, while (unintentionally) protecting the position of poor-quality providers.

The report was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and is based on a three-year research project at Brighton Business School.

A launch event on 12 June at Garden Court Chambers brought together academics, practitioners, and attendees from the National Audit Office, professional regulators, Legal Aid Agency, Home Office, as well as refugee support organisations. 

The report is available here: 'Droughts and Deserts: a report on the immigration legal aid market'.

The report has been widely covered including by the Times, The Law Gazette and The Justice Gap

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