The government has done a u-turn on its proposal to introduce a
limit of five hours of legal aid for asylum seekers.
In a last-minute change to its submissions to the Department for
Constitutional Affairs select committee, which has been conducting
an inquiry into the money spent on legal aid since January, the
government said it now wanted a “soft cap”.
The alternative approach outlined in a memorandum says that the
more flexible upper limit should be used for “genuine and complex
cases where there is a real prospect of success”.
But the committee said the proposal must be more detailed with a
clearer definition of what was meant by “genuine and
The eleventh-hour amendment by the Department for Constitutional
Affairs has angered the group of cross-party MPs who had already
written their response to the original proposals (news, page 7, 6