Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
Legal Aid Service
419. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for cuts to legal aid fees relating to persons in the international protection appeals process; and the impact same will have on waiting times for persons in the system. [30336/20]
The International Protection Solicitors Panel, which is provided by the Legal Aid Board (LAB), plays an important role in providing legal assistance to people making an application for international protection and permission to remain in the State.
Solicitors on the Panel provide a range of legal services including assistance with the international protection questionnaire and interview and representation at the International Protection Appeals Tribunal.
Last year, the former Minister for Justice and Equality approved changes to the terms and conditions of the Panel, including a restructuring of fees paid to solicitors. These changes were requested by the Legal Aid Board to take into account practical considerations that had arisen in relation to the operation of the panel, reflecting the Board's experience since the International Protection Act 2015 came into force, and legal developments in the interim. These changes were not occasioned by a reduction in the budget for the Legal Aid Board. They are due to come into effect shortly.
The new terms and conditions will not result in delays in the provision of legal services and applicants will continue to receive the same high level of legal assistance. Waiting times for decisions on individual international protection applications are also not impacted by these changes as applicants have the same level of access and assistance to civil legal aid as before.
Detailed information on civil legal aid services and advice provided to international protection applicants can be found here: