The LAA has revised and simplified the application form for exceptional funding, following criticism of it and the process in the case of IS v The Director of Legal Aid Casework & Anor EWHC 1965 (Admin) (our post here). The form itself is shorter and simpler, and now asks only for information supplementing that in the APP1 to which it is to be attached.
There is now a section for applying for Legal Help to fund the making of an application for exceptional funding. This should be of some help in allowing practitioners to make more applications – though the making of an application for Legal Help to fund the making of an application is still unfunded, unless funding is granted. This means that there is still a significant risk element, and it is questionable whether that is enough to answer the High Court’s criticisms in that respect.
There is also now a procedure for urgent cases, with a commitment to deal with them within 5 working days rather than the usual 20 – see the provider information pack for more.
The Lord Chancellor’s Guidance has yet to be revised even though the judgment in IS was several months ago. The LAA said it would happen “very shortly” two weeks ago.