My partner complained to the LSC about his ex having legal aid funding on the basis of some claims she had made against him which have now been totally proved as false by a CRB check and a letter from the local police - this was on the basis of advice from the solicitor that he saw. He didnt hear anything and had kind of forgotten about it until a letter came yesterday.
Its says they cant find her details and so cant confirm if she has public funding, we know she has as her solicitor has told him, the letter however says that if she is in reciept of public funding then the acting solicitor should have made this certificate available to all parties to the case.
Does this mean her solicitor should have provided him with these details?
Ok, when he asked the solicitor previously for this she said it was confidential and she didnt care why he wanted it she wouldnt release it.
Hes already complained to the LSC about her, as she has written a letter to the solicitor that he saw for advice which was really unprofessional and then sent a letter stating she was advising his ex to withdraw all contact until the court case. She had also sent a letter saying that "directions arent an order of the court, theyre an outlining of the current position"
Is he in a position to complain about the fact she wont release it ?
And hows he meant to get a copy - can he ask the court for the copy that should be on the court file - if the court gets a copy?
He is not entitled to a copy of the certificate but the other side should file a notice of issue of public funding with the court and send a copy to the other parties to proceedings. The notice of issue will detail the number of the certificate and the scope of cover.
Thank you Charles, does that mean the solicitor has or hasnt done something wrong? And can they continue to refuse to hand over the number, which is what he needs to continue the complaint - something theyre probably aware of!
Hi, update on this, he got a letter from her solicitors this morning - it contains a "Notice of Issue of Public Funding certificate" and its dated 26.3.12
Its a bit odd though and it might be our ignorance of how legal aid works.
It was issued on 6.9.11 and states she is entitled to Family Help (Higher) as the respondent in relation to proceedings whether proposed or issued in relation to a contact order.
Then below it says as respondent to be represented for an Residence order and as a respondent to be represented for a contact order.
My confusion is this:
She was already funded in some way at the hearing on 13th July.... does this certificate cover that if it wasnt issued until September?
And although my partner filed a c100 for contact last May he didnt vary this to residence until November 11, so how could she be funded in September as a respondent for a residence order?
Finally, the Cafcass reports done, and is in the mail today to him, if they recommend shared residency when she has stated she wants sole residency, then does this remain a contested hearing but then the LSC have to decide whether to continue funding her?
Thanks for any help, this is all really confusing!
When public funding is obtained it can be on a limited certificate for a limited piece of work e.g. contact negotiations.
If residence then becomes an issue, the certificate has to be amended to include that type of work but will usually only be limited to work not including a final hearing.
If a final hearing is necessary the certificate will be extended again to include this issue. In the case of residence, it doesn''t matter if sole or joint residence is sought - it is classed simply as residence. As long as there is a reasonable chance of success, the funding will remain in place.
As far as the notice of of issue is concerned, it may be that a full certificate has now been issued whereas prior to 26th March some form of assistance was in place but not enough to warrant a notice of issue.
It really is the solicitor''s problem if cover was not in place at the right time as they will not get paid for work outside the scope of the certificate.