UK citizens hoping to access legal aid through the proposed Help with Fees (HwF) scheme will not have cryptocurrency assets classified as disposable income.

A new report from the UK Ministry of Justice includes commentary in response to a public consultation on a proposed legal aid scheme aimed at ensuring equal access to the justice system.

The scheme aims to ensure that individuals do not lose access to courts and tribunals due to an inability to pay the relevant fees. The ministry also proposes to ensure access to justice for low-income earners, provide money to taxpayers who ultimately bear the cost of fee waivers under the scheme, and ensure that the scheme is accessible and eligibility criteria are clear.

The Ministry indicates that the majority of respondents supported this proposal. It also helps attract investments that are not available as liquid assets.

However, some respondents did not agree with the proposal. They note that there should be no penalty for having savings and investments, especially for retirees and the self-employed.

“There was also a comment that the non-exhaustive list is too vague and there should be more clarity, for example, that cryptocurrency should be included.”

The UK is moving closer to passing legislation that would make cryptocurrencies subject to the same laws that govern traditional assets in the country. The Financial Services and Markets Bill is expected to give the Treasury, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Bank of England, and the Payments Regulator the ability to propose and enforce rules for cryptocurrency businesses.

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