Social Welfare Lawyers in the Centre of Birmingham

Archived News

Case Law on Compliance with Directions (Post Mitchell Update)

Following the case of Mitchell v News Group, the Courts have taken a very strict view indeed to failure to comply with Court directions. This appears to be loosening somewhat.

Firstly we would refer the reader to the article on the Nearly Legal Housing Law Website – This is what we always meant and especially the piece concerning the amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules on 5th June 2014 – see the article at:-

The piece on Nearly Legal also refers to the Judgment of Jackson LJ (yes, that Jackson!) in Hallam Estates Limited v Baker [2014] EWCA Civ 661. In terms of the amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules, Rule 3.8 (4) will now read:-

(4) In the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3) and unless the Court orders otherwise, the time for doing the act in question may be extended by prior written agreement of the parties for up to a maximum of 28 days, provided always that any such extension does not put at risk any hearing date.

Kick In The Shins

R (Public Law Project) -v- The Secretary of State for Justice [2014] EWHC 2365 (Admin) 15 July 2014

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPOA) 2012 Part 1 Schedule 1 lists those areas of law that remain in scope for legal aid. The Lord Chancellor proposed by the LASPOA 2012 (Amendment of Schedule 1) Order 2104 (‘the Order’) to introduce a residence test. All those who failed the test would be removed from the scope of Part 1 Schedule 1.

Public Law Project (PLP) challenged the lawfulness of the Order. Moses J gave the leading judgment of a three judge court.

Judicial Review and Legal Aid

Following their response to the consultation on judicial review, the Ministry of Justice have produced civil legal aid regulations to implement the proposed changes with regard to payment of legal aid in such cases. However we have noticed that the regulations do not replicate the MoJ’s proposals. We trust this is a mistake. Submissions on this need to be made by Tuesday March 18th and can be sent via Nicola Mackintosh of the Legal Aid Practitioners group:

Still Behind Closed Doors

Amongst other things, the MoJ consultation Judicial review: proposals for further reform proposes the withdrawal of legal aid for appeals under sections 288 & 289 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. CLP put in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with regard to this. . We were not satisfied with the initial response and appealed that decision – see November E Bulletin ‘ Behind Closed Doors’ and the Travellers Times blog:

We have now had the response to that appeal which is reproduced here (see attachment to this article).

Exceptional Funding

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.