To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice on 29 November 2021 (79500), how many surgeries have been held at Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre since contingency arrangements were put in place to provide access to the Detention Duty Advice Scheme.
23 June 2022
The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) operates free legal advice surgeries in immigration removal centres (IRCs) in England under the Detained Duty Advice Scheme. Individuals who are detained are entitled to receive up to 30 minutes of advice regardless of financial eligibility or the merits of their case. There is no restriction on the number of surgeries an individual may attend. If an individual who is detained requires substantive advice on a matter which is in scope of legal aid, full legal advice can be provided if the statutory legal aid means and merits criteria are met.
Staff in immigration removal centres work closely with the LAA to manage demand for the Detained Duty Advice Scheme (DDAS). Following feedback, the weekly rotas for legal providers were instead made into daily rotas, thereby increasing choice for detained individuals, as well as the number of advice slots available allowing for flexibility around the time and days these sessions can be held. The surgeries are operated when detained individuals request to engage with a legal provider under the scheme. On an ad-hoc basis additional advice sessions are also arranged in line with demand. This approach has continued throughout the immigration removal estate and is in operation at Derwentside IRC.
In order to provide access to DDAS services for women held at Derwentside IRC, from 1 January 2022, existing legal providers at Yarl’s Wood IRC were invited to provide an additional 6 months of interim provision at Derwentside. There have been 44 Detained Duty Advice Surgeries available from 1 January 2022, to date, at Derwentside. Within these surgeries, 109 appointments have taken place by phone and 63 by video-conferencing platforms.