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Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

Section 22: Information about financial resources

170.Section 22 provides a gateway for the disclosure of information to the Director (or other prescribed person) by the Secretary of State (in practice, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions), the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (“the Commissioners”), the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland or the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland (a “relevant Northern Ireland Department”).

171.Subsection (1) enables the Director (or other prescribed person) to make a request for certain information to the Secretary of State, a relevant Northern Ireland Department or the Commissioners. Subsection (2) provides that such a request may only be made for the purpose of facilitating a determination about an individual’s means, that is, for the purpose of finding out whether they are financially eligible for legal aid.

172.Subsection (3) lists the categories of information which may be requested from the Secretary of State or the relevant Northern Ireland Department. It includes a power to add further categories of information by secondary legislation.

173.Subsection (4) sets out the categories of information which may be requested from the Commissioners. It includes a power to add further categories of information by secondary legislation, with the Commissioners’ consent (see subsection (6)).

174.Subsection (7) provides that the Secretary of State, the relevant Northern Ireland Department and the Commissioners may disclose to the Director (or other prescribed person) information specified in an information request made under this section.

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