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Applications for legal services when case has concluded or is near conclusion

Paragraph 51 of the Abhaile solicitors panel terms and condition provides that

“Legal services cannot be provided under the PIA Review Legal Aid Service without a valid legal aid certificate.”

Regulation 11(2) of the Civil Legal Aid Regulations 1996 to 2016 provides that “A certificate which is granted after the commencement of the proceedings in respect of which it is sought shall not be extended to cover any action taken or costs incurred prior to the issue of the certificate.” While this does not serve to  prevent legal aid being granted in relation to proceedings already issued (and given the fourteen day time limit to issue proceedings it may be necessary for a debtor to issue proceedings in the absence of legal aid in order to defeat the statute) it does mean that a person is not legally aided in relation to any actions taken before the certificate is granted. While there is no explicit prohibition on granting legal aid in a case where proceedings are concluded a decision maker could take the view that Regulation 11(2) effectively amounts to an implicit prohibition on doing so. Legal aid could be possibly be refused under section 28(4)(e) of the 1995 Act in such circumstances.