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Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

Civil legal aid

Section 8: Civil legal services

91.Section 8 defines civil legal services for the purposes of Part 1.

92.Subsections (1) and (2) explain what is meant by “legal services”, namely services comprising advice and assistance provided in relation to the law as it applies to a particular case, legal proceedings and the resolution of legal disputes. Those services include, in particular, representation and mediation (and other forms of dispute resolution).

93.Subsection (3) provides that “civil legal services” are all legal services other than those services that are required to be made available under the provisions about criminal legal aid. This is in order to avoid any overlap between civil and criminal legal aid.

Section 9: General cases

94.Section 9 makes provision about when civil legal services are to be made available.

95.Subsection (1) provides that civil legal services are to be made available subject to two conditions. The first is they are civil legal services described in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Act. The second is that the Director has determined, in accordance with the provisions of this Part of the Act, that the individual qualifies for those legal services and the Director has not withdrawn that determination (that is, the individual continues to qualify for those services).

96.Subsection (2) provides the Lord Chancellor with the power to add services to Part 1 of Schedule 1 or to vary or remove services described there. He would be able to do so by modifying Part 1, 2, 3 or 4 of Schedule 1. This will be subject to the affirmative procedure.

97.Section 9 and Part 1 of Schedule 1 reverse the arrangements in the Access to Justice Act 1999, which provided for civil legal aid to be available in relation any matter not excluded by Schedule 2 to that Act. Under this Act, the types of case for which legal aid may be made available are set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1.

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