Droughts and Deserts: immigration legal aid in UK social policy (SC DTP Postdoctoral Fellowship)

Project Details


There is a market failure in immigration and asylum legal aid in England and Wales, both in terms of ensuring access to services and of maintaining adequate quality. Since 2007, procurement of legal aid services in England and Wales has been 'market-based', which was supposed to control both cost and quality, but the system makes it impossible for providers to maintain both quality and financial viability, except by reducing client access. The current system protects the market position of poor quality providers and generates costly failure demand.

This post-doctoral fellowship project builds on Dr Jo Wilding's doctoral research with a comparative project, exploring the position in Scotland, which operates a different legal aid model within the same legal system.

It also employs a Theory of Change approach to specific areas of England and Wales identified as 'advice deserts' for immigration and asylum, seeking to overcome the barriers to provision of high-quality advice and representation.

Other planned outputs include book / journal articles and development of funding applications for further substantial research projects.
Effective start/end date1/10/1930/09/20


  • Economic and Social Research Council


  • legal aid
  • marketisation
  • social policy


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