The Civil Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment Services) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2014 were published on 7 October 2014.
These Regulations amend the Civil Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment for Services) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2013/480) (“the 2013 Regulations”), which make provision about the rules the Director of Legal Aid Casework must apply to determine whether an individual’s financial resources are such that the individual is eligible for civil legal services under Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (c. 10) (“the Act”).
Regulation 2(2) amends regulation 5 of the 2013 Regulations to provide a new circumstance in which the Director may determine that a specified form of civil legal services is to be available without a determination in respect of an individual’s financial resources (generally referred to as a “means test”). New regulation 5(1)(gb) provides that there is to be no means test for the civil legal services of family mediation for the initial mediation session following a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (whether or not the mediation proceeds beyond that initial session) if the individual is a party to the mediation and another party to that mediation has already been assessed as financially eligible for family mediation.
Regulation 2(3) amends regulation 27 of the 2013 Regulations to add to the circumstances in which child care costs must be deducted (where reasonable to do so) when calculating an individual’s “income” for the purpose of assessing financial eligibility in accordance with section 21 of the Act and the 2013 Regulations. Under new regulation 27(3), the deduction is required where the individual’s income consists of a student loan, student grant or other income received from a third party (who is not a relative or partner) for the purpose of supporting that course of study.
Regulation 3 provides that the amendments made by regulation 2(3) do not apply to pre-commencement applications for civil legal services. Regulation 4 defines a “pre-commencement application for civil legal services”.
The contracts referred to in these Regulations are available at www.gov.uk/legal-aid. Copies can be inspected at the Legal Aid Agency (Head Office) at 102 Petty France, London, SW1H 9AJ.
A costs/benefit analysis on the effect of regulation 2(2) of this instrument is annexed to the Explanatory Memorandum which is available alongside this instrument at www.legislation.gov.uk.
A full impact assessment has not been produced for the amendments made by regulation 2(3) of this instrument as no impact on the private or voluntary sectors is foreseen.
The Civil Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment Services) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2014 are available to download here.