Tag Archives: devolved powers

Emergency applications for legal aid for JR

Following the recent announcement of the removal of devolved powers (soon to be delegated functions) for judicial review for most types of case (the main exception being homelessness cases) the LSC has published a guide to making emergency applications to it / the LAA.

APP1s should be posted (marked urgent) in the usual way unless work is required within 48 hours, in which cases APP6s should be sent to one of two dedicated email addresses (for immigration and non-immigration cases). There is some provision for out of hours applications in the evenings and at weekends in immigration cases.

The LAA promise to deal with applications within 48hours and appeals against refusals within 24hours.

For more on the new legal aid scheme, see our LASPO Resources page, follow us on Twitter @legalaidhbk or download the Kindle edition of the new Handbook

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Filed under Civil, Housing, Immigration, LASPO, Uncategorized

Devolved powers for JR extended

The LSC has announced that all organisations that currently have devolved powers for judicial review cases will continue to have them until March 2013. This means that the provision in the 2010 and 2012 contracts restricting devolved powers in JR cases will not now be brought into force. The LSC are developing policy on what to do from April next year, when devolved powers will be renamed delegated functions; they will not be available except in a limited range of cases and to providers who meet criteria yet to be developed

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Filed under Civil, Immigration, Social welfare

News round up

In this update:

  • Legal aid and the Olympics
  • Assessing the means of prisoners
  • Devolved powers for judicial review
  • Why LGFS claims are rejected
  • LSC release annual statistics
  • Calling the LSC
  • Regulation of solicitors in NfPs

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Filed under Articles, Civil, Costs, Crime

JR devolved powers extended

Until the Standard Contract came in in November 2010 (for all except family and housing with family contracts), the general rule was that firms had devolved powers to issue emergency certificates. The exception was immigration; instead of all firms having devolved powers by default, only those specifically awarded them by the LSC did so.

The Standard Contract added restrictions to devolved powers in judicial review cases. Paragraph 5.5 (a) provides:

Judicial Review Proceedings: you do not have the power to grant, amend or
refuse to amend an Emergency Certificate for Judicial Review Proceedings in
any Category of Law, other than in relation to proceedings under Part VII
Housing Act 1996, section 21 National Assistance Act 1948, section 20
Children Act 1989 or section 47(5) National Health Service and Community
Care Act 1995 unless we have specifically granted you this power in writing.
If we grant such a Devolved Power you must exercise it only in relation to
such cases and in such circumstances as we specify

Therefore, devolved powers in judicial review cases could only be exercised in a limited number of emergency situations.

However, the LSC did not bring that provision into force for existing providers when the contract began – only new entrants (or those who had previously had devolved powers removed) were caught by it. Instead, they said in November 2010 that they would consult on new arrangements in early 2011, with a view to introducing them in April 2011. No consultation was ever forthcoming.

The LSC has now announced that the status quo will continue until at least January 2012. There is also detailed guidance (PDF). In summary, the following do NOT have devolved powers to issue certificates in judicial review cases (apart from the limited cases specified in 5.5(a)):

  • Immigration contract holders (except those specifically granted devolved powers);
  • Providers whose devolved powers were suspended or removed under the Unified Contract;
  • New entrants who did not previously hold a Unified Contract.
All other providers do have devolved powers. But remember that you can only exercise devolved powers in a category of law in which you have a contract – a family firm, for example, could not exercise devolved powers in a housing case unless it also held a housing contract. Instead it would have to make an emergency application to the LSC.




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Filed under Civil, Family, Immigration, Social welfare

Emergency certificates now last for 8 weeks

As we have previously reported, the LSC’s processing times have slipped further and further behind their targets.

One consequence is that, when practitioners use devolved powers to grant emergency certificates, the LSC has taken several weeks to consider the application for the full certificate. As emergency certificates only last four weeks, this has resulted, in many cases, in their expiry before the issue of the full certificate. As a result, solicitors have not known whether they have funding to continue work – and crucially, clients are potentially without costs protection in the gap if the full certificate is not backdated.

The LSC have therefore announced that any emergency certificate granted on or after 1st May 2011 will now last eight weeks not four.

You should, however, continue to keep an eye on the processing times on the LSC website. Where the LSC does not keep to its published performance targets, the complaints procedure can be found here.


Filed under Civil, Costs, Family, Immigration, Social welfare