Assistance by Commission

47.—(1) Where, in relation to proceedings or prospective proceedings under these Regulations, an individual who is an actual or prospective complainant applies to the Commission for assistance under this regulation, the Commission shall consider the application and may grant it if it thinks fit to do so—

(a)on the ground that the case raises a question of principle;

(b)on the ground that it is unreasonable, having regard to the complexity of the case, or to the applicant’s position in relation to the respondent or another person involved, or to any other matter, to expect the applicant to deal with the case unaided; or

(c)by reason of any other special consideration.

(2) Assistance by the Commission under this regulation may include—

(a)giving advice;

(b)procuring or attempting to procure the settlement of any matter in dispute;

(c)arranging for the giving of advice or assistance by a solicitor or counsel;

(d)arranging for representation by any person, including all such assistance as is usually given by a solicitor or counsel in the steps preliminary or incidental to any proceedings, or in arriving at or giving effect to a compromise to avoid or bring to an end any proceedings; or

(e)any other form of assistance which the Commission may consider appropriate,

but sub-paragraph (d) shall not affect the law and practice regulating the descriptions of persons who may appear in, conduct, defend, and address the court in, any proceedings.

(3) In so far as expenses are incurred by the Commission in providing the applicant with assistance under this regulation, the recovery of those expenses (as taxed or assessed in such manner as may be prescribed by rules or regulations) shall constitute a first charge for the benefit of the Commission—

(a)on any costs which (whether by virtue of a judgement or order of a court or tribunal or an agreement or otherwise) are payable to the applicant by any other person in respect of the matter in connection with which the assistance is given; and

(b)so far as relates to any costs, on his rights under any compromise or settlement arrived at in connection with that matter to avoid or bring to an end any proceedings.

(4) The charge conferred by paragraph (3) is subject to any charge under the Legal Aid, Advice and Assistance (Northern Ireland) Order 1981(1) and is subject to any provision in that Order for payment of any sum into the legal aid fund.

(5) In this regulation “respondent” includes a prospective respondent and “rules or regulations”—

(a)in relation to county court proceedings, means county court rules;

(b)in relation to industrial tribunal proceedings, means industrial tribunal procedure regulations under the Industrial Tribunals (Northern Ireland) Order 1996(2).