Criminal practitioners will want to note the LSC’s reminder of the time limits for making an LGFS claim. Claims must be submitted within three months and late claims will not be paid unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. There is also guidance on submitting the LAC1 form in committal for trial cases, following the removal of the fee for representation orders dated after 3rd October.
The LSC has published an announcement on its website about the approach it takes to evidence of housing costs when assessing means for civil legal aid. The correct legal position is that the LSC should generally deduct the client’s contractual liability (net of housing benefit) rather than what the client is actually paying; so where the client is not paying the rent and is in arrears it is the rent liability that gets deducted from gross income. This is often important in housing possession cases, but in any case with a client struggling financially it is important to take the right approach, otherwise the client could end up paying a higher contribution than necessary or even be refused altogether. It is not clear why the LSC have re-stated this now as nothing has changed, but it is a useful reminder.
Also in the category of reminders rather than new information, the LSC has published a list of common errors in immigration bills. All providers with civil contracts should look at the list, as many of them are relevant to all categories.
There are new tenders for immigration work in the following procurement areas:
- City of Plymouth
- City of Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset