Contempt of court: refusals of legal aid

Reviews of SLAB refusal to grant legal aid for contempt

By statute, we do not have to allow someone who has been refused legal aid for an appeal in contempt proceedings to apply for a review of their application.  However, we will reconsider an application if we are satisfied there are good grounds for doing so.

Cases where we refuse to grant legal aid: power of court to determine the interests of justice

If the court decides it is in the interests of justice for the applicant to receive legal aid, despite our not having been satisfied of this, it may, before disposing of the appeal, decide legal aid should be available.  We must then immediately grant legal aid.

Successful contempt appeals and payment under Secretary of State’s Determination

If we refuse legal aid for an appeal but the appeal nonetheless proceeds and is successful, you may be entitled to payment of your fees and outlays.  If the case comes within the terms of the Determination made by the Secretary of State on 5th June 1996, we may pay if the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. the accused successfully appealed against a decision of a court in proceedings for contempt;
  2. the successful appeal was determined on or after 5th June 1996;
  3. legal aid was refused because we were not satisfied
    • in a case where the court decision appealed against was made before 26 September 1995, that the applicant had substantial grounds for appeal, or that it was reasonable to give legal aid, or
    • in the case of a decision on or after that date, that it was in the interests of justice to give legal aid;
  4. we must be satisfied –
    • after consideration of the applicant’s financial circumstances when they initially applied for legal aid for the appeal, that meeting the expenses of the appeal would cause them or their dependants undue hardship; and
    • that it is reasonable, in the particular circumstances of the case, that payment should be made.

We will deal with any account of your fees and outlays for the successful appeal as if legal aid had been made available.

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