Change to be introduced in civil legal aid financial assessment on 17 July following consultation

We are making a change to our civil legal aid financial assessment process.

The change is in relation to aggregating the resources of a partner or spouse in Civil Legal Aid. It has been made as part of our GALA project.

Our definition of when we will look to aggregate resources has changed slightly and our new approach is set out within our newly published policy statement.

This will reduce the need for a relationship to be scrutinised as a routine part of a legal aid application.

The change is effective from new applications received/applications with a computation start date on or after 17 July 2023.

How do the changes affect the application process?

This will not involve any changes to the way you deal with your clients’ applications.

The legal aid guidance Taking partners’ financial resources into account: civil legal aid will be updated on 17 July to make reference to civil partnerships and remove details of our previous approach.

Changes follow consultation with profession

The changes to our financial assessment process follow a consultation on how we assess financial eligibility in civil legal aid and a number of changes we proposed to introduce.

We received four responses to the written consultation. The written consultation followed on from early discussion sessions held with interested parties from across the legal and third sectors.

In our response to the consultation, we have outlined respondents’ views and shown how we are taking forward key actions.

Over the coming months, as well as our changed approach to aggregating resources, we will:

  • take into account liability for housing costs, rather than what is being paid
  • make claims for work related car travel simpler by using the HMRC standard rate of 45p per mile
  • allow a wider range of maintenance payments.

We will continue to develop a more standardised approach to allowances. This is a complex piece of work. We will take into account respondents’ concerns as we develop this further.

More information

Please contact Kim Blance E:

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