UK residency Test Will be Challenged in the Supreme Court
Apr 18, 2016 09:13 AM EDT
12 months is the proposed minimum residency status in the U.K. for citizens to have the capacity to receive legal aid, according to the highly controversial case by the Public Law Project (PLP) against the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in U.K., which is due for a Supreme Court hearing on Monday.
The Guardian reports the case which tackles the residency test of those in U.K. and their capability to be given legal aid according to the budget of the government. The controversial case receives great opposition since the PLP urges that the matter is of discrimination.
The conclusion of the high court back in 2014, as per another report from the Guardian, ordered that the legislation, titled Transforming Legal Aid, which introduced the test was favorable to the PLP's contestations now. The residence test according to the previous decision was excessively discriminatory.
However, the upcoming hearing on Monday rebirths the debate among the public and the government as to what should be the decision of the highest court. The MoJ claims that because residency is neither race nor sex, it fails to be considered discriminatory and it only uses the limitation for the proper allocation of the government funds.
"Those who do not have a strong connection [to the UK] should not be prioritised for public funding in the same way as those who do have a strong connection. We must ensure that limited resource is targeted appropriately," the MoJ stressed in 2013, as per the Guardian.
However, despite the claimed minimal budgets, PLP stands firm in its position to fight for legal aid for those who resided in U.K. for less than 12 months. "In this country, we are rightly proud we have a legal system which, whilst not perfect, seeks to ensure that anyone can enforce important legal rights and enter the courtroom on an equal footing to their opponents," John Halford, the solicitor at the London law firm Bindmans and known to be sided with the PLP, said, as per the publication.
Halford further urged that withholding legal aid to anyone who lived less than 12 months is against the British law. But the MoJ stresses that it is a fair and just legislation as per the news agency. "We believe the residence test proposed during the previous parliament is a fair and appropriate way to demonstrate that connection."
The Supreme Court hearing on the residency test will happen on Monday, as confirmed by the news outlet.