Legal Aid Agency Agree to Backdate Legal Aid Certificates9 Oct 2018
Following a judicial review the Government has agreed to amend the Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) regulations 2012 to allow for legal aid certificates to be backdated to the date of application.
The situation prior to this decision meant that people who required urgent legal assistance were unlawfully being denied access to justice as lawyers were prevented from undertaking any paid work and providing advice before the granting of a legal aid certificate. In many cases people were at risk of being made homeless and required immediate legal help.
Osbornes Law were an interested party in the challenge, which was made by Duncan Lewis Solicitors as the claimant.
William Ford, specialist housing lawyer in London and partner at Osbornes comments:
“This was a really important Judicial Review challenge that Osbornes is proud to have been a part of. The Legal Aid Agency’s interpretation of the law in question prevented lawyers from getting paid for necessary urgent work on behalf of their clients. The Legal Aid Agency (“LAA”) considered that the legal aid funding rules prevented the backdating of legal aid certificates to before the date a decision was made by the LAA on the application. This was even where the LAA accepted that the work was urgent and necessary to the client’s case (such as meeting an appeal deadline), and where any delay in consideration of the application was entirely due to the LAA. This left legal aid providers in the unenviable position of not being paid for work vital to their client’s cases.
In the challenging environment for legal aid providers the fact that the LAA have conceded the case and agreed to pass new regulations is to be welcomed.”