Asylum and immigration cases are costing £4.4 million in legal aid a month, analysis by The Epoch Times has found.
According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), over £53 million in legal aid was granted to migrants between April 2022 and March for legal advice and representation.
Of that figure, over £36 million in government help was paid to legal representatives for asylum-only cases, with January to March 2023 recording the highest number of cases on record.
Between January and March this year, 11,430 asylum seekers received government legal aid, compared to 9,135 for the same period in the previous financial year, according to the MoJ statistics.
The average cost of legal help granted to asylum seekers per case is just over £836, figures show.
Non-asylum immigration cases granted finance for legal help amounted to a total of £4,182,448.27 for 4,154 cases in April 2022 to March this year. The average cost of each case was recorded at just over £1,000.
Civil representation of immigration cases before the courts, where costs were met by another government department, stands at over £8.3 million for the 2022 to the 2023 year.
The MoJ figures show that 315 civil cases—at an average cost of £26,402 each—were closed in the last year up until March 2023.
Some of those cases are believed to include legal action against the Home Office for unlawful detention at immigration centres.
The government’s Legal Aid Agency—which provides civil and criminal legal aid and advice in England and Wales—picked up a bill of £4.3 million for the same period.
They provided legal costs for 675 civil cases marked as closed between April 2022 and March this year. The average spend on each case was £6,492.
‘Too Little, Too Late’
Last month, the MoJ launched a consultation about increasing legal aid rates by 15 percent for immigration lawyers representing asylum seekers threatened with removal to Rwanda under new rules in the illegal Migration Bill.
Presently, the hourly legal aid rate for lawyers carrying out asylum work is approximately £52 in London and £47 outside London.