An Independent Review of the Mandatory Civil Legal Advice Gateway

An Independent Review of the Mandatory Civil Legal Advice Gateway

Keys to the Gateway

On 1 April 2013, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) came into effect. Together with regulations made on the same date, LASPO established the Civil Legal Advice telephone line as the only route by which certain legal aid services could be accessed (the Gateway). In the first instance, the Gateway has been introduced as mandatory in three areas of law.

As a consequence, individuals seeking advice and assistance (‘Legal Help’) in one of the three mandatory areas of law (Debt, Discrimination, and Special Educational Needs) can now only obtain that advice and assistance via the Gateway, unless they fall within one of the limited categories of ‘exempt’ individuals.

The Gateway has constituted a major shift in the delivery of publicly funded legal advice in the areas of law in which it operates. Parliament was assured that it would be extended to other areas of law only after its operation had been fully reviewed by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The MoJ published its review of the Gateway in December 2014.

This research paper considers the extent to which the MoJ review engages with the key legislative and policy intentions behind the Gateway, as well as the extent to which the Gateway, as implemented, meets those intentions

Author: Ben Hickman & David Oldfield

Publication date: March 2 2015