Civil legal aid assessment period and its consequences: ‘period of computation’

We calculate an applicant’s disposable income over 12 months immediately following the date the application is received, or such other period of 12 months if we consider it appropriate in the particular circumstances of the case.

This fixed period is known as the period of computation and is defined in regulation 2.

The applicant’s disposable capital is determined as at the date of application. There is no similar provision for the period over which we calculate disposable capital.

Under regulation 23, the applicant must tell us about any changes in circumstances, financial or otherwise, that may affect their eligibility for civil legal aid.

If the proceedings for which legal aid is granted conclude before the end of the period of computation, this does not affect this obligation.

We may still recalculate the applicant’s disposable income and seek payment of any contribution arising from that assessment.

No similar statutory provision exists for the period over which we can re-calculate the applicant’s disposable capital.

Therefore, we may recalculate a person’s disposable capital for the lifetime of the case for which legal aid has been made available.

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