The cuts to legal aid over the last 12 months have been substantial, the scope for cases for which legal aid is available is narrower, and the criteria to be satisfied in order to obtain legal aid more stringent.
There was much commentary on the proposed 'residence test' criterion. In short the government sought to prevent individuals who could not prove 12 months lawful residence in the UK from accessing Civil Legal Aid. The Public Law Project successfully Judicially reviewed the decision to enact the “residence test” by secondary legislation; the test was held to be unlawful by the Administrative Court. The Ministry of Justice has indicated it intends to appeal the decision, but, for now at least, there will be no residence test in place.
The judgment handed down on 15 July 2014 can be found at: http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/plp-v-ssj-and-other.pdf .