We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

Legal Aid Board sees asylum-linked surge
Pic: Legal Aid Board

14 Dec 2023 / justice Print

Legal Aid Board sees asylum-linked surge

The Legal Aid Board’s (LAB) annual report for 2022 shows a jump in applications for its civil legal-aid services, with applications linked to international protection up by 368% compared with 2021.

The board is the statutory, independent body responsible for the provision of civil legal aid and advice to people unable to afford legal representation.

Its report shows that 20,705 applicants accessed services from its law centres last year, representing an increase of 35% on the previous year.

The board says that, while more than 60% of cases that it handled involved family-related matters, 6,858 applications were linked to international protection – an increase of 368% on the previous year.

‘Significant pressure’

CEO Joan Crawford (pictured) said that the increased demand put “significant pressure” on its services, but she added that recruiting entry-level solicitors, particularly in Dublin, remained “a considerable challenge”.

The board was allocated €5.5 million in Budget 2024 to recruit new staff, invest in technology, and provide for additional costs related to the increase in international-protection applications.

The annual report shows that the LAB’s family-mediation service helped just over 1,500 couples to settle disputes last year.


“Expanding family-mediation services alongside existing law centres underscores the Legal Aid Board’s dedication to promoting family mediation as an integral component of its services,” the organisation said.

A Civil Legal Aid Review Group is currently reviewing the operation of the civil legal-aid scheme.

“Moving forward, we aim to focus on delivering on our responsibilities under the Family Justice Strategy, meeting the increasing operational demands related to assisted decision-making and international protection, and preparing for the outcome of the civil legal-aid review,” said Crawford.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland