Termination of legal aid in cases of false or incomplete information

We may stop legal aid under regulation 32 where, after allowing an opportunity for them to submit representations, we are satisfied that the applicant or assisted person has

  • made an untrue statement about their resources or
  • failed to disclose any material fact about them; or
  • wilfully failed to comply with the regulations by not supplying material information about anything other than their resources; or
  • knowingly made an untrue statement in supplying such information.

In any of these circumstances, and whether or not legal aid is terminated, we have the right to recover its whole outlay from the assisted person concerned.  In addition, the assisted person is deemed for the purposes of sections 18 and 19 of the 1986 Act never to have been an assisted person.  The consequences of this are that

  • the assisted person will not be entitled to apply to the court for modification of liability for expenses for the period during which they were receiving legal aid
  • they cannot use the special urgency provisions, or indeed get legal aid, in relation to any later stages of the same proceedings in the same court
  • they are not entitled to legal aid in any appellate proceedings unless we consider there is special reason to make legal aid available for these.

By virtue of section 35 of the 1986 Act, anyone who seeks or receives legal aid, and

  • wilfully fails to comply with any regulations about the information to be furnished by them or
  • for the purpose of obtaining legal aid, knowingly makes any false statement or false representation

is guilty of an offence.  Our Investigations Unit will report direct to the procurator fiscal cases where it appears that there has been a contravention of section 35.

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