The Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment for Services) (Legal Persons) Regulations 2013

Publication Date:January 01, 2013
 
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2013No. 512

LEGAL AID AND ADVICE, ENGLAND AND WALES

The Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment for Services) (Legal Persons) Regulations 2013

6thMarch2013

11thMarch2013

1stApril2013

The Lord Chancellor makes the following Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 5(4), 21, 23 and 41 of, and paragraphs 4, 6 and 7 of Schedule 3( 1) to, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012( 2).

PART 1

Interpretation and General

Citation and commencement

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment for Services) (Legal Persons) Regulations 2013 and come into force on 1st April 2013.

Interpretation

2. In these Regulations-

"the Act" means the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012;

"civil legal aid" means civil legal services required to be made available under paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 (legal aid for legal persons) to the Act; and

"criminal legal aid" means advice, assistance and representation required to be made available under paragraph 4 or 5 of Schedule 3 to the Act.

Delegation

3. A function of the Director under these Regulations may be exercised by a person authorised for that purpose by the Director, or by an employee of that person( 3).

Provision of information

4.-(1) The Director may at any time require a legal person to provide information in relation to a determination made under paragraph 3(1)(b), 4(1)(c) or 5(2)(b) of Schedule 3 to the Act, or any application for such a determination.

(2) The information which the legal person is required to provide in accordance with these Regulations includes, but is not limited to, information relating to-

(a) the form of the legal person and, in particular, whether it is profit-making or not;(b) the financial resources of the legal person, including its assets and profits;(c) the financial resources of any subsidiary of the legal person or any other related legal person;(d) the financial resources of any person with a legal or beneficial interest in the legal person; and(e) the ability of the legal person to obtain sufficient means to fund the services in relation to which an application for civil or criminal legal aid has been made (whether by way of a loan, sale of shares, sale of share capital or any other method).

(3) The legal person must provide the Director with such information as the Director may request for the purposes of paragraph (1) within fourteen days of the Director making the request, or such other period as may be agreed by the Director and the legal person.

Deprivation or conversion of resources

5. If it appears to the Director that the legal person or any person whose resources are to be treated as the legal person's resources in accordance with regulation 16has, with intent to reduce the amount of its financial resources, whether for the purpose of making the legal person eligible for civil or criminal legal aid, reducing its liability (where applicable) to pay a contribution, or otherwise-

(a) directly or indirectly deprived themselves of any resources;(b) transferred any resources to another person; or(c) in relation to civil legal aid, converted any part of their resources into resources which under Part 2 of these Regulations are to be wholly or partly disregarded,

those resources must be treated as part of the resources of the legal person or as not so converted as the case may be.

Duty to report change in circumstances

6. The legal person must immediately inform the Director of any change in the legal person's circumstances (or those of any person whose resources are to be treated as the legal person's resources in accordance with regulation 16)-

(a) of which the legal person is, or should reasonably be, aware;(b) which has occurred since any application or determination in respect of the legal person's financial resources; and(c) which might affect a determination that the legal person's financial resources are such that the legal person is eligible for civil or criminal legal aid or the amount, if any, of any contribution payable.

Amendment of determination due to error or receipt of new information

7.-(1) Where-

(a) it appears to the Director that there has been an error in a determination in respect of a legal person's financial resources or the amount of any contribution payable, or in any calculation or estimate upon which that determination was based; or(b) new information which is relevant to the determination in respect of a legal person's financial resources has come to light,

the Director may amend the determination.

(2) The Director may take such steps as appear equitable to give effect to the amended determination under paragraph (1) in relation to any period during which civil or criminal legal aid has already been provided.

PART 2

Civil legal aid for legal persons

CHAPTER 1

Financial eligibility limits and waivers

Interpretation

8.-(1) In this Part-

"application" means an application for a determination in respect of civil legal services made in accordance with regulations made under section 12 of the Act( 4);

"certificate" means a certificate issued under regulations made under section 12 of the Act;

"CPR" means the Civil Procedure Rules 1998( 5) and a reference to a Part or a rule, prefixed by "CPR", means the Part or rule so numbered in the CPR;

"disposable income" and "disposable capital" mean, respectively, the income and capital of the legal person calculated in accordance with regulations 19to 28;

"multi-party action" means proceedings in which a number of persons have a cause of action which involves common or related issues of fact or law; and

"revocation" means the withdrawal of a determination in circumstances in which the Director has exercised the power to revoke the determination under regulations made under section 12 of the Act (and "revoked" has the equivalent meaning).

(2) For the purposes of this Part, a case is of significant wider public interest if the Director is satisfied that the case is an appropriate case to realise-

(a) real benefits to the public at large, other than those which normally flow from cases of the type in question; and(b) benefits for an identifiable class of persons, other than the legal person to whom civil legal services may be provided.

(3) A reference in this Part to a form of civil legal services means-

(a) legal help;(b) help at court;(c) family help (lower);(d) family help (higher);(e) family mediation;(f) help with family mediation;(g) legal representation; and(h) other legal services,

which are further defined in Part 2 of the Civil Legal Aid (Merits Criteria) Regulations 2013( 6).

Determination in respect of a legal person's financial resources

9.-(1) This Part applies for the purposes of determining whether a legal person qualifies for civil legal services under paragraph 3(1)(b) of Schedule 3 to the Act.

(2) Subject to regulation 10, the Director must determine whether the legal person's financial resources are such that the legal person is eligible for civil legal services in accordance with these Regulations.

Exceptions from requirement to make a determination in respect of a legal person's financial resources

10. The following forms of civil legal services are available without a determination in respect of a legal person's financial resources-

(a) legal representation in relation to a matter which, if the legal person were an individual, would be a matter described in paragraph 17(1)(a) and (b) (EU and international agreements concerning children) of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Act, to the extent that the matter relates to an applicant under the 1980 European Convention on Child Custody( 7) or 1980 Hague Convention( 8);(b) legal representation in a case in which the applicant is a legal person who, in the State of origin, has benefited from complete or partial legal aid, or exemption from costs or expenses, in relation to a matter which, if the legal person were an individual, would be a matter described in-(i) paragraph 17(1)(c) (EU and international agreements concerning children) of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Act; or(ii) paragraph 18(1)(a), (c), (d) and (e) (EU and international agreements concerning maintenance) of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Act;(c) family help (higher) or legal representation in relation to a matter which, if the legal person were an individual, would be a matter described in paragraph 18(3) (parties who benefited from free legal aid etc. in the Member State of origin) of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Act; and(d) legal help, family help (lower), family help (higher) and legal representation in relation to a matter which, if the legal person were an individual, would be a matter described in paragraph 18(2) (EU and international agreements concerning maintenance) of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Act, to the extent that the matter-(i) relates to any application under Article 56(1) of the EU Maintenance Regulation( 9); and(ii) is an application made by a creditor concerning maintenance obligations arising from a parent-child relationship towards a person under the age of 21.

Financial eligibility limit

11.-(1) The Director must not determine that the legal person's financial resources are such that the legal person is eligible for civil legal services unless-

(a) the conditions in paragraph (2) and (3) are met; and(b) the Director is satisfied that the legal person is not able reasonably to obtain from any source sufficient means to fund the services in relation to which an application has been made.

(2) This condition is met if the disposable income of the legal person does not exceed £733 a month.

(3) This condition is met if the amount of the disposable capital of the legal person does not exceed £8,000.

Waiver of eligibility limit in multi-party actions of significant wider public interest

12. Where an application is made for legal representation in a multi-party action which the Director considers has a significant wider...

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