Current policy work

This section provides an overview of PLP's recent policy work.

PLP produces a further briefing for Parliamentarians regarding Part 4 of the Criminal Justice & Courts Bill
July 2014. The briefing paper addresses key proposals within the Bill, explains the current position, the effect of the proposals, highlights considerations and suggests amendments. It can be viewed at http://www.publiclawproject.org.uk/data/resources/180/PLP-Parliamentary-Briefing-Paper-July-2014.pdf

PLP has also produced a briefing paper on the Richard III case.  This high profile case has been used by the Lord Chancellor to justify some of the measures within the Bill. The paper debunks some of the myths surrounding the case, and can be viewed at http://www.publiclawproject.org.uk/data/resources/181/Richard-III-Myths-and-Facts.pdf

PLP's evidence to the Public Bill Committee on 13 March 2014
This paper debunks Government assertions that the number of judicial review cases are “out of control”, and is available here: http://www.publiclawproject.org.uk/data/resources/171/PLP-The-number-of-JR-cases.pdf

Government should re-consider legal aid proposals, Says human rights Committee
December 13 2013. The full report from the Joint Commitee on Human Rights can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201314/jtselect/jtrights/100/10002.htm.
Evidence from the Public Law Project's exceptional funding project has been accepted by the committee to show that the exceptional funding scheme is not working as intended. Our evidence and the committees consideration of it can be found in section 2, paras 132 - 144.

 PLP submits written evidence to JCHR on proposed judicial review reforms
November 28 2013.  PLP's submission addresses many of the proposals, including those on standing, costs, third party interventions, procedural defects, oral hearings, Protective Costs Orders and wasted costs orders. Read the item in our news section here, or read the full submission here.

PLP Publishes its response to the Government's latest judicial review reform proposals
The Public Law Project has published its full response to the Government consultation 'Judicial Review: Proposals for further reform'. You can read the complete response in our Resource Library, here.

Public Law Project gives oral evidence to the JCHR
Wednesday 23 October PLP's Martha Spurrier gave evidence and answered questions on the Government's exceptional funding regime. This was part of the Joint Committee on Human Rights enquiry into the implications for access to justice of the Government's proposals to reform Legal Aid,
You can listen to the proceedings via the link below:
http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=14009
or read the story in our news section, here.

Announcement from PLP regarding proposed residence test challenge
On 16 October 2013 Bindmans LLP, acting on behalf of the Public Law Project, sent a pre-action letter to the Ministry of Justice regarding the Government’s decision to implement a residence test for civil legal aid.  A statement providing more detail is available here.
The story in our news section is here.

Judicial Review: proposals for further reform - PLP briefing paper
Published: October 16 2013
On Friday 6 September 2013 the MoJ opened its consultation seeking views on proposals in a number of key areas.  The consultation and related documents can be found herePLP's briefing paper is in our resource library  here.   It is intended for those wishing to understand more about he proposals and their implications, or who are preparing responses to the consultation.

Evidence submitted to the JCHR
As is well canvassed, LASPO 2012 takes many areas of law out of scope for legal aid. During the passage of the LASPO Bill it was recognised that in order to comply with the UK’s international obligations (such as the right to a fair hearing under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights), there needed to be a way of ensuring that impecunious litigants with meritorious cases who could not represent themselves would have access to public funding so as to ensure they had access to justice. To this end, the Minister for Legal Aid, Jonathan Djanogoly, said in the House of Commons on 8 September 2011, “It is right to have an exceptional funding scheme to provide an essential safeguard for the protection of an individual’s fundamental right to access to justice”

Evidence in response to JCHR consultation on impact of LASPOA paper is in our resource library here.

The exceptional funding regime is not working
The Public Law Project looks at the latest statistics on exceptional funding from the Legal Aid Agency, which show that the scheme is not fit for purpose and does not provide a safeguard for access to justice; see here and here.

Proposed residence test unlawful (June 2013)
PLP, along with fourteen other NGOs, has obtained a legal opinion from leading public lawyers Michael Fordham QC, Ben Jaffey and Ravi Mehta. The opinion states in clear terms that the proposed residence test is unlawful. You can read the opinion and the accompanying press release here.

Legal aid briefing
This briefing is in response to the proposed changes to legal aid in the government’s Transforming Legal Aid consultation paper. You can find it in our Resources Library here.
Publication date: June 27 2013

The Public Law Project has written to the Ministry of Justice seeking the statistical data that the legal aid proposals are said to be based on (June 2013)
PLP is of the view that without this data, it will not be possible to engage meaningfully with the consultation. PLP is asking the Ministry of Justice to publish the data urgently and extend the deadline for consultation responses. You can read our letter and the MOJ response here.

Response to the Government's consultation paper 'Transforming Legal Aid: Delivering a more credible and efficient system' (April 2013)
A briefing on the key points to raise in response to the proposals to introduce a residence test and a fee cut for advocacy ('Unjust and unworkable: why the Government's legal aid reform consultation is important for you and the people you represent') is here and further briefings here and here.

PLP’s response to the consultation is available here.

Sir Henry Brooke, former Vice President, Civil Division of the Court of Appeal, and PLP's Patron, has allowed us to publish his response, here.

Consultation on changes to the judicial review process (January 2013)
PLP produced three documents, all of which are available here: briefing paper to help those responding; briefing paper explaining why the Government's consultation should matter to you - and those you represent, here (aimed at helping the voluntary sector respond to the consultation); and the PLP response to the consultation.

The Public Law Project has transformed the local voluntary sector’s ability to challenge abuses by local councils and the local NHS. A decade ago we only had the Compact (the agreement between the sector and the government to ensure better working together). Now we have the ability to mount legal challenges when local public bodies let us down. I am proud of NAVCA’s partnership with the PLP, which has already trained more than 2,000 local voluntary sector leaders in the principles of public law.

Kevin Curley, (then) Chief Executive, National Asscoiation for Voluntary and Community Action