Covid-19: Help for people making payments to the Legal Aid Fund

We know that the Covid-19 pandemic is causing hardship for people and many of you will have seen changes in your financial circumstances, including reductions in income and loss of employment. We’re doing what we can to help people in those circumstances who make payments to the Legal Aid Fund.

Who might be making a payment to us?

You might have to make a payment to us because:

  • You have income or capital which means you have to contribute to your legal costs
  • you won or kept property at the end of the case
  • The court might have ordered you to pay your opponent’s costs
  • We might have terminated your legal aid and you have to pay the costs.

Below is information about the steps you should follow if you are unable to meet your payments during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Step 1: Tell us if you’re having problems paying

If you are worried about being able to make a payment, you should contact us as soon as possible. Contact details for the Collections Team are available below and on the public section of our Contact Us page.

You can email us at collections@slab.org.uk or call us on: 07918 334882 or 07918 334878.

If you fail to make a monthly payment, we will telephone or email you to find out if your difficulties are as a result of COVID19. We will not issue arrears letters.

Step 2: Depending on the stage of your case, we can: re-assess your financial circumstances or, offer a payment break or reduce monthly payments

Option 1

We can re-assess your eligibility and adjust your contribution amount during the computation period (the first 12 months after you make the application) if you tell us that you:

  • Have a change in financial circumstances
  • Cannot afford to pay because of Covid-19.

You will not need to make payments while we re-assess.

Option 2

We can offer you a payment break or reduce the monthly payments if the change of circumstances occurs outwith the computation period (the first 12 months after you make the application).

The total contribution amount due cannot be reduced outwith the computation period, but we can reduce the monthly payments.

If you would prefer to complete payment break, this will be for three months, after which the position will be reviewed.

You will not need to give us evidence of the change in your circumstances.

Your solicitor will be able to continue doing work under the grant of legal aid during the payment holiday.

Step 3: We won’t take any enforcement action

During this period, your grant of legal aid will not be paused or ended for non-payment of a contribution.

No steps to enforce payment will be taken for the next 3 months, after which we will review the position. We will not raise court action for payment or seek to enforce any court decree we have not yet actioned.

We hope that these steps will help you during the Covid-19 pandemic.

General enquiries

If you have any queries about this, please contact:

By email – Pamela Skelton skeltonpa@slab.org.uk

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