Enforcing the charge
We previously looked at the situation where money is recovered or preserved. The money is paid directly into the Legal Aid Fund prior to the bill of costs being issued. One the bill of costs is accepted by the client, our costs will be deducted and the remainder refunded to the client. This is done by Legal Services.
A court may order that a property be sold and your client will be paid a portion of the proceeds. You will not be involved in the sale of the property and will have no control over the sale proceeds. If that happens, ask the client for the name of the solicitor who is handling the sale. Write to the solicitor stating:
- the legal requirement to lodge of any settlement money to the Fund
- that we are entitled to deduct our costs from that money
- asking them to keep you informed of progress.
- Seek to get an undertaking from the solicitor that he will preserve the Board’s costs out of sale proceeds.
Of course, the private solicitor has no responsibility for this. However, if they don’t keep you informed, you should write to your client for updates. If your client doesn’t respond, and the title to the property is registered, search the Land Registry from time to time. If you find out that the property has been sold without any money being recovered by us, inform Legal Services. The charge may now be a debt which we may sue to recover. However that decision which will be taken at Legal Services level.