Clause 22 - Civil legal services for recipients of priority removal notices

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:00 pm ar 26 Hydref 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) 3:00, 26 Hydref 2021

I will try to respond to the various points that have been raised as best as I am able. I will, of course, happily feed through the views that have been expressed to Ministry of Justice colleagues who have direct responsibility for legal aid within their portfolio.

On the initial point about the seven hours, it is worth saying that the power we are proposing will allow the Lord Chancellor to amend the number of hours of advice available under the clause. The Lord Chancellor will have to lay affirmative legislation to ensure that Members of this House and the other place have full sight of the proposed changes. That power is necessary because the priority removal notice is a new process and, as with all new operational processes, it will take time to bed in. We must be able to change the number of hours to ensure that the purpose of the clause works how we intend in practice. Providing individuals with access to free legal advice ahead of their potential removal from the UK is clearly important. That is why we are making that commitment in the Bill.

I was asked what this extension of legal aid will cost. The estimates are in the region of £4 million to £6 million, so it is a significant increase to meet the need resulting from the new measures we are introducing. If, at the end of the seven hours, more advice is needed—and there are circumstances which dictate that—there is legal advice available for asylum claims and appeals.