Families are likely to gain better access to justice when they are opposing adoption or care orders, under a new government action plan.

The new Legal Support Action Plan, published by the Ministry of Justice, follows a post-implementation review of legal aid reforms introduced under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), which cut annual legal aid expenditure by at least £350m from 2013. It pledges an investment of up to £5m for developing innovative technologies and testing new methods of delivering support. An additional £3m will also be invested to support those representing themselves through the court system.

As part of a raft of measures, the government will bring forward by the summer proposals to extend eligibility “for non-means tested legal aid for parents, or those with parental responsibility, who wish to oppose applications for placement orders or adoption orders in public family law proceedings”.

The plan also extends legal aid to include special guardianship orders, which may be applied for by some relatives, as well as for non-asylum immigration matters for separated migrant children.

Read more here.

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