Applying for a Waiver of Costs
The Civil Legal Aid Act (1995) provides that an applicant can apply to the Board for a waiver of the costs that we are entitled to recover. This gives the Board a discretion to waive its right to recover its costs where it is of the opinion that not to do so would “create hardship” for the person. This waiver can be either a full waiver or a partial one.
Where recovery of costs arises your solicitor will advise you of the right to apply for a waiver. They can advise you whether they think the application is likely to succeed or not, as the decision to waive costs is not a formality. Your solicitor can also provide you with further details as to the criteria we use to decide to waive costs if you discuss a waiver with them.
We consider each application for a waiver on its own merits and if you are not happy with the decision taken on your application for a waiver, you have the option to appeal it to the Board's Appeal Committee
The following principles have been agreed by the Board in making a decision whether to waive costs:
- when considering what constitutes hardship, we will consider your position at the end of the provision of legal services;
- your financial circumstances will be examined on the date the decision on hardship is made;
- we have a set of fixed criteria and guidelines which we take into account when making the decision so we are consistent in how we treat each individual application;
- while many decisions will be based on these criteria and guidelines, we will exercise discretion when necessary based on the particular facts of the case.
If you wish to apply for a waiver of costs you should make the application in writing to your solicitor as soon as possible after your case has been finished. Your solicitor will pass it to our head office in Cahirciveen and the decision will be communicated to you in writing as soon as practically possible.