In terms of those areas that are out of scope for legal aid, the Government said people could try and get ‘exceptional funding’ under section 10 of the Legal Aid Act 2012 if otherwise there might be a breach of article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to a fair hearing). For example, housing benefit is now out of scope for legal aid but a housing benefit problem might be the reason for rent arrears that have led to a possession action.
Therefore we might want to seek exceptional funding for a client to deal with the housing benefit problem. Because all of our attempts to get exceptional funding to date have been refused we made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Ministry of Justice. Here is the response: