I have a client who was deemed ineligible for free legal advice in 2012 in a criminal law appeal matter because his dependants’ allowances were wrongly assessed on a monthly rather than a weekly basis. This incorrect assessment was repeated this year.
However, it is now accepted by the Legal Aid Agency that the dependants’ allowances should be weekly and that this was due to a ‘rogue’ key card issued by the Legal Services Commission on an unknown date. My client has now been found eligible to continue with his appeal.
The error cannot be repeated because the LAA website now refers to weekly dependants’ allowances (whatever the previous situation may have been), and all LAA staff have to ensure the error is not repeated. However, clients who, before this requirement, have been informed by the LAA or the LSC that they are not eligible for free criminal law legal advice need to know this urgently.
They need to be traced and advised as soon as possible, because they may still be eligible for such advice and, if so, need it now before it is too late for them to receive it.
I can provide solicitors with further information, by email: AluredDarlington@aol.com.
Alured Darlington, London W7