The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) has recently reviewed its application process and identified a number of tips to help you avoid problems.
If you follow these suggestions, the LAA should be able to reduce the number of civil application rejects.
These were running at 10% in the period June to August 2014 with 2,448 being returned out of a total of 24,192.
There were particular issues with forms being rejected because they had not been:
- signed or dated – 31% or 764 of the total
- fully completed – 29% or 724 of the total
Six top tips
- use the checklist built in to CIVMEANS1 and 2 forms to check they have been completed correctly with all relevant evidence enclosed
- ensure you have submitted the correct bank statements in support of your client’s application
- attach a statement of case to the CIVAPP1/3 - in 5% of cases a statement was not enclosed
- use the supporting guidance to ensure forms CIVAPP1/3 are complete
- where you need to submit evidence in relation to the domestic violence gateway or evidence of child abuse, refer to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 evidence requirements for private law family matters – see link below. Examples of evidence include a letter from a health professional or an unspent conviction for a domestic violence offence (Domestic Violence gateway) or a social services letter or a police caution (protection of children case)
- do a final check before submitting an application to ensure that all forms have been signed and dated by all relevant parties
Legal aid guidance
(download ‘Evidence for private family requirements’).