The Ministry of Justice have announced that from 1 April 2013 devolved powers (which will become known as “delegated functions”) will no longer be exercisable for the majority of judicial review work. The announcement, available at http://www.justice.gov.uk/legal-aid/newslatest-updates/civil-news/jr-proceedings-funding-change, states:
Providers will need to seek prior approval for judicial review work
From 1 April 2013, providers will no longer have delegated powers to grant emergency funding for judicial reviews.
Exceptions are set out in Section 5.3 of the Standard Civil Contract Specification 2013. They predominantly relate to emergency homeless applications.
The Legal Aid Agency is putting in place operational provisions to deal with emergency funding applications.
Under this system, all providers will need to apply and gain prior approval from the Legal Aid Agency before judicial review work is undertaken.
We will notify providers of the process to apply for funding, including how the Legal Aid Agency will process out-of-hour’s applications, shortly.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please email: email@example.com
The relevant section of the Standard Civil Contract Specification 2013 (available here) provides that:
Judicial Review: you do not have the power to make a determination that a Client qualifies for authorised representation provided on an emergency basis, or to amend or refuse to amend a limitation or condition to which a determination in respect of Emergency Representation is subject, in relation to Judicial Review in any Category of Law, other than in relation to proceedings under Part VII Housing Act 1996 (as amended), section 21 National Assistance Act 1948 (as amended), section 20 Children Act 1989 (as amended) or section 47(5) National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 (as amended) unless we have specifically delegated this function to you by way of an Authorisation.
This is a very important change for members working in public law to be aware of. It means, among other things, that firms will not be able to exercise devolved powers in urgent cases under s17 Children Act 1989 (e.g. seeking accommodation for homeless migrant families) or under the Mental Health Act 1983, or under any other legislative provision that is not specifically listed in paragraph 5.3. Instead, an urgent funding application will need to be made to the LSC.