News

Legal Aid Agency taken to court for refusing to help rough sleepers

A human rights organisation is taking the national provider of legal aid to court because it is refusing to help rough sleepers challenge councils over the use of potentially unlawful powers to move them on.

Liberty has launched the legal challenge against the Legal Aid Agency because they will not offer assistance to rough sleepers and other local residents who cannot afford to pay lawyers if they want to challenge local authorities’ use of public space protection orders (PSPOs).

Local authorities in England and Wales have issued hundreds of fixed-penalty notices and pursued criminal convictions for “begging”, “persistent and aggressive begging” and “loitering” since they were given strengthened powers to combat antisocial behaviour in 2014.

An LAA spokesperson said: “The Legal Aid Agency can only grant legal aid where the LASPO Act and regulations allow.

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