The Administrative Court has granted permission for a victim of human trafficking to judicially review the applicability of the “suitable for a conditional fee agreement” under LASPO 2012 to modern slavery compensation claims
Mr Novodomski is a victim of human trafficking who was a complainant in the ‘Kozeesleep’ prosecution in 2014 – one of the UK’s biggest forced labour conspiracies in business and supply chains. He applied for legal aid to bring a claim for compensation but, despite requiring translation, was told his claim was “suitable for a CFA” and legal aid was refused. LASPO 2012 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015 made legal aid available for modern slavery victims to bring compensation claims arising from their mistreatment, in keeping the Government’s policy to protect victims. However, at the same time, in 2013 CFAs were changed so that they were vastly more expensive for claimants, and LASPO also widened the “suitable for a CFA” test under the previous legislation to all categories of case. Mr Novodomski’s challenge is brought on the basis that the test and the Lord Chancellor’s Guidance on legal aid are contrary to Articles 4, 6 and 14 European Convention on Human Rights, Article 12 of the EU Trafficking Directive, and the common law – on the basis that they restrict access to justice.
James Robottom represents Mr Novodomski, he is instructed by Jamila Duncan Bosu at the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU).
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