Amnesty research on legal aid cuts

Amnesty International International Secretariat research on the human rights impact of legal aid cuts in the UK 

As part of this research, described below, Amnesty International International Secretariat would like to interview lawyers and others providing front line services (eg those who run advice lines and centres, or drop-in-centres for victims of domestic violence, or children) about their experiences following the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.  
The researchers would like to present case studies of persons who have been denied legal aid for their case as follows. 

Areas of law and persons affected: The research will focus on access  to justice for groups with specific vulnerabilities. Article 8 family life cases and refugee family reunion as far as immigration law is concerned.  Family and social welfare law cuts as they affect children, survivors of domestic violence, persons with learning disabilities, people with mental health problems and prisoners. 

Interviewees: People with no access to legal aid or those who support them. Including both those who obtained pro bono advice and were able to take their cases forward, but also those who as a result of the denial of legal aid either chose to not take their case, to self-represent or found ways to pay (e.g. took out significant loans etc.) Those currently navigating the legal process, alone or with pro bono help, and those who are appeal rights exhausted, including those who have had to leave the UK. 
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This research will examine the human rights impact of the cuts to legal aid. It will focus primarily on the impact of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Amnesty will focus on access to justice but also develop in arguments about asserting economic and social rights. The report will look at the Exceptional Case Funding Scheme and evaluate changes following the recent successful litigation.   The aim is to publish a research report in the first half of 2016 to serve as a tool for advocacy and raise public awareness.