The MoJ has today released the latest figures on exceptional funding applications, covering the period April to June 2014. They show:
- 209 applications were made, 61 review requests were lodged, and 211 determinations made
- 12 applications were made by applicants direct, the remainder by solicitors acting on their behalf
- 21 applications were granted, of which 14 were for inquests, 4 for family cases and 3 for immigration.
- 153 were refused, 35 rejected, 2 withdrawn and 59 cases were awaiting a decision at the end of the period.
It is perhaps too early for Gunadaviciene to have any impact on the rate of grants; the continuing low figures for non-inquest cases would suggest as much – perhaps unsurprisingly since judgment was only handed down in mid-June. The figures for the next quarter will be interesting.
We would be glad to hear of any successful applications and are happy to publish details on this site to assist other practitioners with their applications – see here for our report of two recent housing grants.
6 responses to “Latest exceptional funding statistics released”
Kirklees Law Centre were refused exceptional funding to appear at an oral hearing before a three judge panel of the Upper Tribunal. In the decision (link below – see para 61-63) the judges expressed their disappointment and set out 5 points which they invited the Legal Aid Agency to take account of in future decisions.
Thanks Nick. It will be interesting to see what account of this is taken in future.
Are you sure this was an exceptional funding application? The decision only refers to a grant of legal aid, not of exceptional funding, and welfare benefits appeals to the Upper Tribunal are in scope (see para 8 of Schedule 1 of LASPO) – so was this an application for in scope legal aid that was refused by the LAA? Unfortunately the reasons for refusal are not clear from the decision.
For the benefit of others, this is what the Tribunal said in relation to the circumstances in which it considers legal aid should be granted.
More generally we take this opportunity to invite the Legal Aid Agency in other cases where a three judge panel of the Upper Tribunal (AAC) has been convened to hear an appeal to take account of the following:
i) Paragraph 3(a) of the Senior President’s Practice Direction relating to the composition of that tribunal and thus the reasons why the Senior President or the Chamber President can direct a three judge panel. They are that: “… the matter involves a question of law of special difficulty or an important point of principle or practice, or that it is otherwise appropriate …” for there to be a three judge panel.
ii) These directions are not made lightly. When they are the legal issues involved will be of that nature, the appeals will involve individuals and the Secretary of State and decision making will be greatly assisted by written and oral argument.
iii) The role of the Upper Tribunal (AAC) in setting precedent and thus consistency of decision making by First-tier Tribunals in respect of claims for benefits, and thus the wide impact of its decisions on cases heard by First-tier Tribunals.
iv) The great advantage of resolving differences between decisions of single Upper Tribunal judges by a decision of a three judge panel. This is based on the long standing practice that three judge panel decisions will be followed by both the Upper Tribunal and the First-tier Tribunal. That practice avoids the need for such differences between single judges to be determined by the Court of Appeal and so greatly reduces the number of appeals to that court.
v) The fact that the above points indicate that the grant of legal aid in cases to be heard by a three judge panel is likely to be of great assistance to the Upper Tribunal in resolving difficult and important issues of law that, subject to further appeal to the Court of Appeal, will create precedent and thereby assist in the correct determination of a large number of other cases by the Department and First-tier Tribunals.
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Yes, it was an exceptional funding application. WB appeals to UT are in scope (and we have a contract) but representation is not in scope and that was the issue here.
I see – thanks for clarifying