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Accepting the legal aid certificate

When a legal aid certificate is granted, this strictly speaking constitutes an offer of civil legal aid by the Board to the applicant. A legal aid certificate is generated on EOS and appears on the Documents tab.

The certificate doesn’t take effect until the applicant:

  • signs a printed copy of the certificate; and
  • where applicable, pays the legal aid contribution (or such portion of the contribution which it has been agreed should be paid up front, if an instalment arrangement has been approved)

If the applicant does not sign the form of acceptance within one month from the date of its receipt, the certificate will cease to have effect.  There is no way to cancel the certificate on EOS, but the file closure reason should be recorded as “Certificate not taken up” and Legal Services notified by email.

Regulation 8(2)

Regulation 8(2) provides that the Board may allow the applicant to accept the certificate after the month period is up if there is “good and sufficient reason”.
Managing solicitors may use their discretion to allow an applicant to accept the certificate late in exceptional circumstances. In other circumstances the law centre should consult with Legal Services.

The submission and a copy of the certificate will be placed on the applicant’s file and a copy of the certificate will be given to the applicant.

Slightly different procedures apply to private practitioner certificates which are dealt with in the Administrative Procedures Handbook, and to certificates granted to clients who do not live in the jurisdiction and whom you will never meet (for example, applicants in child abduction or enforcement of foreign maintenance).