Hildegarde Naughton (Minister of State with special responsibility for Civil and Criminal Justice) has made changes to the eligibility criteria for the civil legal-aid scheme.
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) will no longer be included in the calculation of entitlement to civil legal aid.
Minister Naughton said that this would have a positive impact for those of modest means in receipt of HAP, or any other housing-support measure.
“This will no longer be an impediment to them accessing legal advice and representation where the other criteria of the scheme are met,” she said.
On Friday, the minister also announced her plans to review the civil legal-aid scheme more broadly: “In the Justice Plan 2021, we have committed to a review of the civil legal-aid scheme, which will begin later this year.
“Eligibility for the scheme, including financial eligibility, will form part of the review. This is part of our ongoing commitment to improve access to justice for everyone.”
The guidelines of the Legal Aid Board will be amended to take account of the recent changes.