Opponent notifications and statutory statements in applications

Please note: this guidance was temporary for the duration of Covid-19 and no longer applies

This guidance is supplementary information to our update about our arrangements for handling correspondence with applicants and opponents during the current Covid-19 situation when we cannot issue printed letters.

It sets out what we can do about notifications of civil legal aid applications to opponents and what we need from you as far as statutory statements in civil legal aid applications are concerned.

Our requirements are designed to protect the privacy of applicants and opponents given that we need to send out personal information using email.

If you have any suggestions that could help with this please tell us at covid19@slab.org.uk

Sending statutory statements to opponents

When we send notification that an application for civil legal aid has been made we have to include a copy of the statutory statement that you send in with that application.

We will send the notification and statutory statement to:

  • the opponent’s solicitor – where you have been able to give us their email details
  • the opponent – if there is no solicitor acting and you give us an email address for the opponent.

Please remember that if you provide an email address for the opponent you need to be sure this is a current and accurate email address.

If you are not sure, do not send us this information as this risks causing a data breach which could disclose information about your client to an unknown third party.

Where no email available – or provided later

Where we don’t have either email address we cannot send any notification that you have made an application. We will need to decide the application without this.

If we get email details for an opponent or their solicitor at a later stage, regulation 23(3) lets them draw our attention to matters that might affect any grant made – essentially to provide representations about the grant.

We will then consider any such representations they make.

Personal information in the statutory statement

Where you have given us details that lets us tell the opponent or the solicitor about the application please do not provide any unnecessary personal information in the statutory statement that we will need to email to them.

You can give a short summary of the nature of the legal aid application but do not include any names of other personal data in the statutory statement itself unless it is essential.

For example in a pursuing contact application you can tell us what level of contact is being sought in respect of the parties child(ren) without naming the child(ren) or giving any personal information that could identify them to a third party.

We will check each statement we get. If we consider it has too much personal information we will ask you to send us a fresh one which does not do this.

Purpose of the statutory statement

Remember that the purpose of the statutory statement is to let the opponent know why legal aid cover is being sought.

It needs to set out the nature of the case and your client’s interest in it.

It does not need to go into great detail about the case or give personal information about anyone who might be affected by the action.

For more information

For queries on this guidance, please contact Wendy Dalgleish.

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