Court of Appeal says legal aid guidance on exceptional cases is unlawful

ATLEU acted for LS, one of six cases against the Lord Chancellor and Director of Legal Aid Casework considered by the Court of Appeal earlier this year. The Court of Appeal today handed down judgment that the Lord Chancellor’s Guidance on the exceptional case funding regime is incompatible with the requirements of Article 6 and Article 8 of European Convention of Human Rights and Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights because it sent a signal to caseworkers that the refusal of legal aid would breach Article 6 only in rare and extreme cases and the same applied to Art 47(3) of the Charter. 

Lord Dyson found that the threshold being applied for legal aid was "very high" such that it was unlawful. He said: "It correctly identifies many of the factors that should be taken into account in deciding whether to grant exceptional funding, but it neutralises their effect by wrongly stating that the threshold for funding is very high and that legal aid is required only in rare and extreme cases."

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