For example, What is the overlap or general relationship between "no recourse to public funds" and eligibility for legal aid?

Is legal aid encompassed by NRPF? It surely can't be in an absolute sense, in that even immigration advice itself until the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO 2012) was covered by legal aid. Legal aid agency seems organised as an entirely separate affair from Dept of Work & Pensions, and I suppose there is likely a statutory basis for this. But what is the connection between these if any at all? Or is access to justice considered comparably to access to A&E and GP, a matter of fundamental and inviolable human rights?

Obviously if one is arrested one is entitled to duty scheme solicitors advice which is publicly funded through the LAA, so NRPF seemingly cannot be absolute.


1 Answer 1


Typed and prepped off-line before the titular reference to immigration status and legal aid was edited out by the OP...

Section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 defines who is not entitled to various state benefits. It includes:

... (3)This section applies to a person subject to immigration control...


(9)“A person subject to immigration control” means a person who—


  • (b)has leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom which is subject to a condition that he does not have recourse to public funds...

However note that the No Recourse to Public Funds Network (NRPF) say that:

In England and Wales legal aid is funded by the UK Government to enable people who have a low income to access free legal advice.

Legal aid is not classed as a public fund for immigration purposes and can be accessed by a person regardless of their immigration status, including a person who is subject to the ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) condition.

However, legal aid is only available for some types of cases and very few immigration matters, which means that many people who are on a low income will not be able to access free legal advice. 


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