Any application seeking special urgency cover to raise an action for residence will need to show that immediate court action is needed in regards to the residence of the child.
This could be because:
The current arrangements are unsuitable or dangerous
The status quo in relation to residence has changed
If there is an imminent risk of removal of the child from the existing primary carer, an early residence action may be appropriate to preserve the status quo.
You need to tell us what it is you want to do and the steps to be covered in the “work to be done” section of the application.
Special urgency and contact cases: specific information to provide
Applications seeking special urgency cover to raise an action seeking interim contact will generally only be granted:
In the context of a variation of existing orders
Where there has been a failure to obtemper a court order
Where contact was taking place and this has been recently stopped (within the last two months) without good reason
Where parties have only recently ended their relationship (within the last two months) and contact has been denied
Applications for special urgency cover where there has been a recent stopping of contact should detail:
When contact last operated
The reasons given for the cessation of contact if known
Details of the extent of the contact previously in place
Where parties have only recently separated the application for special urgency cover should detail:
When parties separated
Reasons given for not allowing contact if known
Other than the situations above, it is unlikely that we will consider that the need to obtain an interim contact order prior to a decision being taken on the legal aid application is a matter that meets the test of special urgency.
Special urgency and Minutes of Variation (change in existing residence arrangements)
A special urgency application will generally be approved where residence arrangements have changed resulting in your client being in breach of an existing order.
We will generally allow cover for variation where there are concerns about the welfare of the child. We are unlikely to give approval to do work urgently where your client is a parent who has an order for contact and simply wishes to vary this to gain more contact with the child.
Special urgency in context of failure to obtemper contact arrangements
Where your client is experiencing difficulty in obtaining contact which the court has awarded, we will usually grant special urgency cover for a minute for failure to obtemper, so long as it is shown that some effort has been made to resolve matters without litigation. We will take into account the time over which contact has operated, and the number of sessions missed.
Special urgency for obtaining a section 11 child welfare report ordered by the Court
Where the court orders a child welfare report prior before legal aid is granted we will deal with any requests for special urgency cover for this work as expeditiously as possible. If we are satisfied that interim orders are needed urgently, authorisation to cover the cost of such a report will usually be granted.
However, if we consider you have brought about an urgency where no difficulties would have arisen had you and your client waited for a decision on a legal aid application, we may not grant special urgency.
If the cost of the report is to be more than £3,000 excluding VAT you need to get approval from us for this cost using the sanction process as well as special urgency approval.
In this section
Cover for work done before a decision on the legal aid application: the nature and types of special urgency
Read more on how to get cover for urgent work that must be done before a decision on legal aid is given.
Special urgency: satisfying yourself that a client is financially eligible
Satisfy yourself that your client is financially eligible for civil legal aid with reference to income, capital and benefits.
List of circumstances in which you may undertake urgent work without prior approval
Read the list of circumstances where urgency work can be done without our prior approval (as long as you comply with Reg 18 of the Civil Regulations 2002)
Arrangements for collection of your client’s contributions in special urgency: the client mandate
Read about the importance of online declaration for special urgency work and information about contributions in this context.
Assessment of special urgency applications: tests applied by us
View factors that may suggest to us that there is no special urgency when considering the application.
Rejected or continued applications for civil legal aid: limited circumstance in which special urgency is available
Read general guidance on how we approach the special urgency test in the event of delay in seeking cover.
The importance of providing reasons for special urgency in the body of your application
Find out the sort of information we need within the application to show special urgency with an explanation of why we need this.
Special urgency, expenses, and property recovered or preserved: circumstances where we may not be able to pay you
Learn about situations under Regulation 18(7) when we might not be able to pay you and how tihs relates to expenses.
Status of your client under special urgency: contributions and requirement to provide financial information
Guidance on understanding status of your client under special urgency, implications for contributions and requirement clients provide financial information.
Special urgency and extension or amendments to existing legal aid
View information about when an online declaration is not required for work under special urgency.
Special urgency and sanction applications: usual sanction procedure applies
Read information on the procedure for applying for sanction for work carried out under special urgency provisions.
Special urgency and undertaking necessary collateral work: timing issues
View information about undertaking necessary collateral work under special urgency and example of when a further Regulation 18(1)(b) certification is required.
Special urgency work’s status: issues your client to be aware where it is not a grant of legal aid
Read guidance on the status of special urgency and potential implications for your client.
Special urgency situations where the client does not comply with our requests for information: potential effects
Find out the implications of not completing the financial assessment where work is done under the special urgency provisions.
Special urgency: procedure for exemption from court fees
Learn about the procedure for exempting work carried out under special urgency from court fees.