Tag Archives: contempt

Applying for legal aid for contempt

Following the judgment in Brown v London Borough of Haringey [2015] EWCA Civ 483 (our post here), the LAA has issued new guidance on applying for legal aid to represent those accused of contempt of court. As McCombe LJ said in Brown, this is criminal legal aid – even where the proceedings are in the civil courts – and so an application for a criminal representation order will be necessary.

Applications are made to the Nottingham office of the LAA, using form CRM14. If your firm doesn’t have a criminal contract, you will also need to apply for an individual case contract (ICC). Criminal legal aid for contempt is not means tested.

There is a guidance document for general contempt cases, and a separate one for applications for contempt cases in breach of injunctions made under Part 1 Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Claims are made using form CRMCLAIM11 and the payment rates depend on the venue in which the contempt proceedings are heard. The LAA’s guidance unhelpfully refers to the 2013 Regulations “as amended” but doesn’t set out what the amendments are, where they are to be found, or acknowledge that an amended version of the 2013 Regulations isn’t available anywhere to the best of our knowledge.

These are the applicable payment rates:

There is an upper costs limit of £1,368.75 (£1,237.50 from 1 July) that can only be exceeded with prior approval from the LAA.

UPDATE: The July 2015 fee cut was revoked for cases starting on or after 1 April 2016. These cases will attract the rates, and costs limits, set out in the 2014 regs, above. For more on the revocation, see here.

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Filed under Civil, Costs, Crime, Family, Housing

Legal aid for contempt in the County Court

In Brown v London Borough of Haringey [2015] EWCA Civ 483 the Court of Appeal considered the availability of legal aid for contempt proceedings in the County Court. It was considering an appeal against the committal for contempt of an elderly man who was found to have breached anti-social behaviour injunctions. In the County Court, he was unrepresented following the failure of his solicitor’s efforts to obtain legal aid.

The solicitor had applied both to the LAA, which said it was a criminal matter and to apply to the Court; and to the Magistrates Court that dealt with legal aid applications in the local area, which said it was a civil matter and to apply to the LAA.

Giving judgment, McCombe LJ analysed what he said was “disgracefully complex” legal aid legislation. The relevant analysis is set out at paras 26 to 37. McCombe LJ concluded that this was indeed a criminal matter (that is, that it fell within the criminal legal aid scheme and the solicitor needed a criminal contract). He approved the judgment of Blake J in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Council v Bunning and anor [2013] EWHC 3390 (QB).

In cases in the Crown Court, High Court and Court of Appeal, the Court has the power to grant legal aid itself (which the Court of Appeal did, to allow Mr Brown’s representatives to be funded). But the County Court has no equivalent power. These are criminal applications which have to be made by criminal practitioners using criminal application forms. See also our posts on funding for new style anti-social behaviour injunctions here and here – this work can also be done by civil practitioners if the LAA is willing to grant an Individual Case Contract.

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Filed under Civil, Crime, Housing, LASPO