Termination of legal aid in contempt cases: application of Regulation 8 and implications

There are no Rules of Court specific to legal aid in contempt proceedings that give either the court of first instance or the court on appeal the power to end legal aid for someone being dealt with for contempt.  However, where we have granted legal aid for an appeal arising out of contempt proceedings, regulation 8 gives us power to end the legal aid, if we are satisfied that the assisted person

  1. has wilfully failed to comply with the provisions of these regulations as to the information to be furnished by them;  or
  2. knowingly made a false statement or false representation in furnishing such information;  or
  3. has conducted themselves in connection with the proceedings in such a way as to make it appear unreasonable to us that they should continue to receive legal aid;  or
  4. has wilfully or deliberately given false information for the purpose of misleading us in considering their financial circumstances under section 24 of the Act.

Before we decide to end the legal aid, we must consider any explanation the assisted person offers.  If we end legal aid under this regulation:

  1. we have the right to recover from that person the amount paid out of the Fund for the fees and outlays of their solicitor and counsel;
  2. you have the right to receive from them the difference between the amount payable out of the Fund and the full amount that would be payable to you on a solicitor and client basis for fees and outlays;  and
  3. we may direct that the assisted person shall cease to be entitled to legal aid in connection with the proceedings.

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