Practitioners have welcomed the Government’s announcement that guidance from the legal aid safety net will be amended to make it easier for families of people who have died in custody to receive Legal Aid.
Legal Aid is currently provided under the Government’s Exceptional Case Funding scheme. However, the Ministry of Justice says the Guidance now makes it clear that Legal Aid is likely to be awarded to families following a non-natural death or suicide of someone who was detained by Police, in Prison or in a mental health Unit.
Case Workers must give particular consideration to the distress and anxiety that the bereaved families are suffering when deciding to apply for the financial means test. Only the individual applicant’s financial means will be tested.
A spokesperson for the Ministry said
“we understand the Inquest process can be difficult and have every sympathy for the family of the deceased. These changes will reduce the stress and anxiety as far as possible for cases involving deaths in custody”.
If you or any family member find yourself in this situation, please do not hesitate to contact any of our specialist staff.