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Evaluation of the Early Legal Advice Project, Final Report

NCJ Number
Mike Lane; Daniel Murray; Rajith Lakshman; Claire Devine; Andrew Zurawan
Date Published
May 2013
71 pages
This report from the United Kingdom Home Office presents the results of an evaluation of the United Kingdom's Early Legal Advice Project.
Key findings from this report on the effectiveness of the UK's Early Legal Advice Project (ELAP) include the following: application of the ELAP process to asylum applications increased the overall grant rate of cases and reduced the number of refusals against intake; while ELAP did improve decisionmaking in complex cases, it did not have an effect on the quality of the decisions; ELAP did not have an effect on the asylum grant rate or the grant rate for humanitarian protection but it did increase the grant rate for discretionary leave; and cases in the ELAP process took longer to reach an initial decision and cost longer to process than cases not using the ELAP process. The primary goal of ELAP is to provide early legal advice and representation to asylum seekers in the United Kingdom in order to enhance the quality of asylum decisions. Data for the evaluation were obtained from several sources: the UK Border Agency and Legal Services Commission, and interviews with asylum applicants, case owners, and legal representatives relating to 83 individual asylum cases. The evaluation compared the impact of ELAP on asylum cases in the MEE (Midlands and East of England) region, where the program has been implemented, to cases in other regions also receiving publicly funded legal advice. The overall finding from the evaluation was that ELAP improved the asylum process for more complex cases but was less effective or simple, straightforward asylum cases. Recommendations for broadening the impact of the program are discussed. Tables, references, and appendixes