Dr Wilding - Visiting Research Fellow in the University of Brighton's School of Humanities and Social Science – wrote the book during a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). She is also a working barrister at Garden Court Chambers in London.
Entitled The Legal Aid Market: Challenges for Publicly Funded Immigration and Asylum, Dr Wilding's book reveals a cruelly dysfunctional system faced by immigrants to the UK seeking legal advice, driven by a combination of badly thought-out immigration laws, chaotic practice and a 'hostile environment' generated by the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and others.
The book draws on themes from economics, geography, public policy and socio-legal studies to analyse the development of both immigration law and legal aid, showing how failings in both have led to major injustices and individual tragedy.
Dr Wilding said: “When you read about Afghan nationals desperate to escape Kabul, or those already in the UK who are desperate to stay; when you read about people from the Windrush generation, born in the UK and threatened with removal, or children born in the UK but discovered as young adults that they're not British citizens; when you read about people trafficked to the UK for sexual exploitation or domestic servitude... All of those people need immigration legal advice, and legal aid is vital to access that advice. Without legal aid, people can't access their legal rights.