Some good news on legal aid

Reflecting commitments made in the response to the Legal Aid Means Test Review, the Criminal and Civil Legal Aid (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (SI 2023/745) have been laid before Parliament.  The SI amends the civil and criminal legal aid means tests to remove the means test for:
• Individuals under the age of 18 applying for criminal advice and assistance;
• Individuals under the age of 18 applying for all civil legal representation (including Exceptional Case Funding representation) and family help (higher);
• Legal representation for parents of, or those with parental responsibility for, a child (aged under 18) facing the withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining treatment; and
• Legal help relating to inquests where, if the individual were to make an application for Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) representation, due to a breach of Human Rights, or, where the Director of Legal Aid Casework thinks there is a significant wider public interest in legal aid being provided, it would be reasonably likely to succeed.

The SI will also make amendments so that determinations of legal help for inquests can be dated to an earlier date than the determination itself, so that legal aid providers can continue to claim for legal help carried out prior to the date of determination.

The changes made by this SI, except for the legal help assessment for inquests, will come into force on 3 August 2023. The changes for legal help for inquests will come into force on 4 September 2023.

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