The LSC have announced that devolved powers to grant emergency legal aid for judicial review cases are to be removed from 1st April (under the new scheme devolved powers will be renamed as delegated functions, but will otherwise operate in the same way). There are limited exceptions mainly for emergency homelessness cases, but otherwise emergency applications will have to be made to the LSC (presumably faxed using APP6) rather than granted under devolved powers. The LSC promise to announce a full procedure shortly.
This is a provision that was in 2010 contracts, and has been reproduced in 2013 contracts, but as a concession was not brought into force for firms that had previously had 2007 contracts. It will be brought into force from 1st April.
The rule says (para 5.3 of the 2013 specification)
Judicial Review: you do not have the power to make a determination that a Client qualifies for authorised representation provided on an emergency basis, or to amend or refuse to amend a limitation or condition to which a determination in respect of Emergency Representation is subject, in relation to Judicial Review in any Category of Law, other than in relation to proceedings under Part VII Housing Act 1996 (as amended), section 21 National Assistance Act 1948 (as amended), section 20 Children Act 1989 (as amended) or section 47(5) National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 (as amended) unless we have specifically delegated this function to you by way of an Authorisation. You must only exercise such a Delegated Function in relation to such cases and in such circumstances as we specify
For more on the new legal aid scheme, see our LASPO Resources page, follow us on Twitter @legalaidhbk or pre-order the new Handbook by emailing email@example.com