ILLEGAL immigrants and failed asylum seekers are to be barred from using taxpayers’ money to support their battle to stay in the UK.
Foreigners making claims of mistreatment against British troops will also be banned from claiming legal aid under new Government plans.
A new “residence test” will see taxpayerfunded civil legal aid restricted to people who have been lawfully resident in the UK for at least 12 months at the time they apply.
A Government source said: “It is unacceptable that our troops who go abroad to protect British people are pursued through British courts with British taxpayers’ money by people who don’t even live in Britain.
This worked out at £650,000 a week for those peak three months, the highest quarterly figure for two years.
Each case costs £900 on average, paying for lawyers to help asylum seekers seek permission to stay or fight refusal of asylum.
Meanwhile, the Government has faced demands from military chiefs to cut back on legal aid for foreigners.
Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander in Afghanistan, said: “We must deny legal aid to foreign citizens making claims against our troops. This is the major factor that encourages so many of these cases.”
Legal firms Public Interest Lawyers and Leigh Day, which both receive legal aid, have tried to launch more than 2,000 claims alleging criminality by the Armed Forces.
A third of these cases have been rejected.