acfair: The Charge grabs the money first - the balance, if there is any, is then released.
redwine: There is no exemption as such - the Charge either applies or it does not apply. The Charge will apply if there is a recovery or preservation.
In a civil case I worked on some years ago, a person obtained public funding to litigate against a double glazing company. The glazing was sub-standard and funding was used to bring the company to task. The matter was settled with the company agreeing to carry out works to the glazing to bring it up to standard. The Statutory Charge applied as a recovery had occurred, namely the value of the works carried out to the glazing. Even though the assisted person had not recovered any money, the Charge applied and he was required to make payment of his legal fees up to and including the value of the works carried out.
The Statutory Charge does not attach itself to maintenance or pension orders. However, if you accept a lump sum in lieu of maintenance/pension, this is treated as a lump sum to which the Charge will attach.
You are likely to have received a letter at the outset of your case explaining the Statutory Charge but I have often met lawyers that send the letter out but have never read the contents and/or do not understand the how the Statutory Charge works and is applied.
As the availability of public funding dwindles, the knowledge of it''s inner workings does too.