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Revocation of legal aid certificate

Regs. 9(4) and 13(5(b)

Revocation differs from termination in that the legal aid certificate is held to have never come into being. While the outcome may appear the same, there are costs implications for the client, as they may be asked to pay the full costs the Board incurred in providing them with legal services.

Revocation, as opposed to termination, rarely occurs in practice. The most common circumstance where it would occur is under Regulation 9(4) – i.e. where a person has made an untrue statement of income or capital in their application for legal services form or where a person has failed to disclose any material fact.  The Board might exercise its discretion to revoke a certificate may come about either as a result of:-

  • a person’s law centre advising the Board of the relevant circumstances; or
  • the Board receiving information from another source.

The change in circumstances procedure in the Administrative Procedures Handbook details what a law centre must do if it becomes aware that a person’s actual means are different from what was on their application form. Of particular note, solicitors should ensure that where an affidavit of means is required to be sworn during proceedings, that it is immediately compared with the client’s application form to ensure it does not materially differ.