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Legal services during the “showing cause” period

The Act and the Regulations are silent on what legal services should be provided during the “showing cause period. The following approach should be adopted:

  • generally, as it will, in most cases, be the law centre/solicitor which has initiated the process for the withdrawal of services, the law centre/solicitor will most likely have a conflict in terms of providing services but should continue to act to the extent that services need to be provided during the showing cause period. It is emphasised that this is the general approach only and is not appropriate in every case. For example in a child care matter where the basis of the application may be difficulty getting instructions, it may be appropriate to engage in further work until such time as the certificate is terminated;
  • if issues arise as to the necessity for the solicitor to engage in work on behalf of the person, the solicitor should request Legal Services for a decision on the matter;
  • a law centre should not come off record until a final decision has been made on the application to terminate (including, if the person exercises their option to do so, when an appeal of the decision is decided); unless there are extremely exceptional circumstances
  • and even then only with the express written authority of the Director of Civil Legal Aid; and
  • any decision by Legal Services authorising a particular course of action will be made having regard to:-
    • the interests of the person; and
    • the interests of staff; and
      the interests of the Board; and
    • the provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work legislation and its impact upon staff of the Board.
  • Where the Board considers material other than that provided in the application, and is considering refusing the application, the applicant will be:-
    • advised that such additional material is being considered and furnished with copies of that material;
    • given an opportunity will to submit comments thereon within a specified time period; and
      such comments may be transmitted through the law centre or direct to the Board.
    • Where the applicant submits further information directly to the Board, the law centre will be given a copy of any such information so as to enable the relevant member of staff to review his/her own opinion and amend same, if appropriate, in light of that information.