LEGAL AID IN CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS

In an earlier post I  set out the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Brown -v- London Borough of Haringey [2015] EWCA Civ 483 about the availability of legal aid in committal proceedings. This included the passage

” The question of the availability of legal aid in such proceedings needs to be clear to lawyer and layman alike. It is not. The legislation is disgracefully complex”

Today I had an email from someone faced with committal proceedings.  They have been around 20 firms seeking legal aid for committal proceedings. The LAA keeps telling the solicitors that legal aid is not available. So the litigant will have to go to court (and possibly to prison) whilst unrepresented.

Anyone have any views as to why the LAA are informing solicitors of this? Have the Regulations been changed since the Brown decision?

4 comments

  1. An unfortunate conundrum indeed.

    Whilst it was a little while ago, and possibly pre the decision in Brown itself, success has been had in making an oral application in front of the judge hearing the Committal Application for a Legal Aid Representation Order (based on the King’s Lynn case) and a consequent Adjournment allowing the Respondent time to find Solicitors/Counsel willing to assist them.

  2. Hi
    We have obtained legal aid for committal cases arising out of contempt’s in civil cases. There is a special guidance note available https://www.gov.uk/government/news/civilcrime-news-criminal-legal-aid-for-civil-contempt-clients
    We have a case on going at the moment which has Legal Aid funding also.

  3. Robert Barley · · Reply

    Non means tested criminal legal aid is available via Crm 14 to the NTT in Nottingham. We have been told that the upper limit has been removed and that the June 2015 guidance is out of date but has not been updated yet!

  4. CLP have obtained non means tested criminal legal aid in several cases even though we had no prior involvement in the case (seemingly in conflict with the guidance – in practice the LAA will grant an individual case contract to a civil solicitor if the client has tried and failed to get help from solicitors with a crime contract). Legal aid backdated to the day you first saw the client and no means test. Much simpler than civil legal aid!

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