Legal Aid / Public Funding

Duncan Lewis
Public Funding / Legal Aid

 

Public Funding (more commonly known as Legal Aid) is available for the majority of legal problems involving English Law. However, certain cases once funded by Legal Aid are no longer funded. The following are excluded from public funding:


Cases in which legal aid is not available
  • Clinical negligence; except where a child suffers neurological injury resulting in them being severely disabled during pregnancy, child birth or the postnatal period (8 weeks).
  • Consumer and general contract cases.
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority cases.
  • Debt, except, where there is an immediate risk to the home.
  • Employment cases.
  • Education case, except for cases of Special Educational Needs.
  • Housing matters, except those where the home is at immediate risk (excluding those who are “squatting”), homelessness assistance, and housing disrepair cases that pose a serious risk to life or health and anti-social behaviour cases in the country court.
  • Immigration cases (except Asylum and Detention).
  • Appeals to the Upper Tribunal from the General Regulatory Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal.
  • Cash forfeiture actions under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • Legal advice in relation to a change of name
  • Actions relating to contentious probate or land law
  • Court actions concerning personal data, action under Section 14 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.
  • Legal advice on will-making for those over 70, disabled people, the parent of a disabled person and the parent of a minor who is living with the client, but not with the other parent, and the client wishes to appoint a guardian for the minor in a will.
  • Private family law (other than cases where criteria are met regarding domestic violence or child abuse).
  • Tort and other general claims.
  • Welfare benefits, except for advice and assistance for welfare benefits appeals in the Upper Tribunal; and advice, assistance and representation for welfare benefits appeals in the higher courts.

Legal Aid is available for the following matters:-

 

Cases in which legal aid is available

 

Together with the exceptions mentioned above, the following will remain in scope:-

 

Family
  • Public law children proceedings involving care and supervision.
  • Private law family applications for injunctions and other orders to prevent domestic violence and forced marriage and linked proceedings.
  • Emergency orders to prevent the unlawful removal of a child from the UK (there is no legal aid to oppose such orders) 
  • Representation of children in private law proceedings.
  • Mediation.

 

Housing
  • Homelessness. Cases where the home is at immediate risk, serious housing disrepair and anti-social behaviour.
  • Debt. Cases where the home is at immediate risk of repossession.
Immigration
  • Asylum and Detained clients. As per current rules, in addition to control orders and immigration detention.
Other
  • Mental Health, Community Care, Actions Against Public Authorities and Public Law
  • Community Legal Advice

For clients seeking advice in the following areas, it will be mandatory to apply via the CLA help line (subject to the exemptions set out below).

  • Debt (in so far as it remains in scope).
  • Special Educational Needs.
  • Discrimination (claims relating to a breach of the Equality Act 2010).
  • Excluded Cases. Funding of any case where the failure to do so would result in a breach of human rights law and certain criteria are met. Process to be discussed with representative bodies shortly.
  • All crime cases i.e., serious fraud, benefit fraud, money laundering, sexual offences, murder and assaults.
  • Some prison law matters.

 

The two most commonly used forms of public fund are:-

 

Legal Help: Under this Scheme, Duncan Lewis can provide general advice, write letters, negotiate, obtain a barrister’s opinion and advise if you have to go before a court or tribunal.

 

Legal Representation: This is required when you need to take or defend court proceeding and covers all work to trial and beyond. The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) may impose limitations and conditions on the extent of funding. It is available in both family and civil cases. You may be eligible for criminal public funding through which we can provide advice and representation at a police station and in the Magistrates Court, the Crown Court, and Appeals to Higher Courts.

Our Legal Aid solicitors who are based in London and in offices across the UK will be happy to meet with you to discuss, in detail whether or not your case can be funded by Legal Aid. If your case cannot be funded by Legal Aid, our solicitors will explore other alternative means of funding i.e., privately, fixed fees, legal expenses insurance and no win no fee.