The changing face of legal aid

08 Aug 2013

As we are (hopefully) all aware, the scope of civil legal aid has been radically altered by the legal aid reforms introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 which came into force in April this year and the secondary legislation made under it. Following on from a recent event at Hardwicke "How to fund a judicial review", we thought we would sign post a few useful sources of guidance to help you navigate this mammoth piece of legislation. In addition if any of you missed the event please feel to get in touch for a copy of the materials.

One of the most useful summaries in our opinion is the Bar Council’s “Changes to Civil Legal Aid: Practical Guidance for the Bar”. This document has been prepared by the Remuneration Committee’s Civil (Public) Panel (including our very own John Friel and Amelia Walker) and is being updated on a regular basis. The current version was published on 5 July 2013 so it is very current! As an added bonus, our sources tell us, that the document is in the process of being formatted as an iBook which will be made available on iTunes for download onto all your handy gadgets. The hope is for the iBook to be ready for download before the end of August so watch this space.

The Law Society has produced a Key Information and Advice page on their website regarding the legal aid changes. This provides a number of handy links to other sources (including the legislation and regulations themselves) and gives a little more in depth information about the exceptional funding regime under section 10 of LASPO. It appears a number of people are already struggling with applying for exceptional funding and therefore any guidance on this area will be warmly received by all. The Public Law Project has perhaps the most comprehensive advice on this area and under their exceptional funding project will help claimants complete their own applications. The Public Law Project has highlighted just a few of the pitfalls with the application process and has unfortunately noted that of 100 or so applications which have been made for exceptional funding since 1 April 2013 only one has been successful.

If you have any questions arising from the changes and need help on a specific case, our Public Law Team is here to help. Calls, emails and general enquiries welcome!


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