Regulation 28(1): error made in initial financial assessment

Where a mistake has been made in assessing disposable income, disposable capital or maximum contribution, we may, as provided by regulation 28 (1), correct that mistake if we are satisfied it would be just and equitable to do so.  Any consequent amended assessment is to have effect for all purposes as if it was the original assessment.

Regulation 28(2): change in client financial circumstances

Apart from cases where there has been an error, we may reassess disposable income, disposable capital and maximum contribution, if there has been enough change in an assisted person’s financial circumstances to justify this.  Regulation 28(2) specifies the extent to which circumstances must have changed before we may carry out a reassessment.

We will carry out a reassessment if

  • their overall disposable income increases by £500 or more, or decreases by £200 or more, within the 12 month computation period (even where legal aid may have been terminated beforehand or the case concluded) or
  • their capital increases by £500 or more, during the life of the case (even where legal aid may have been terminated beforehand).

We can only reassess capital if it has increased by £500 or more.  We cannot amend our assessment to take account of a reduction in capital.

If an applicant’s financial circumstances change they should contact us to ask for our notification of changes form, which will enable them to give us all the information we need for a reassessment.

If the applicant was ineligible for legal aid under the original assessment, and a later change in circumstances may have made them eligible, they need to make a fresh application for legal aid, as the original assessment cannot be revised in terms of regulation 28(2).

The financial limits specified in regulation 28(2) for reassessment purposes are amended from time to time.

Regulation 28(3): SLAB’s power to increase the restricted contribution due

Usually, we will fix the contribution payable at the same amount as the maximum contribution assessed.  However, on the solicitor’s application form, we ask you to estimate the likely cost of the case.  If the maximum contribution is significantly greater than the likely cost of the proceedings, we may restrict the contribution to less than the maximum.  We have power, under regulation 28(3), to increase such a restricted contribution where it appears that this will be necessary to cover the actual or estimated cost of the proceedings.  The actual contribution will never, of course, exceed the maximum contribution, whatever the final cost of the case.

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