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Recovery of costs from legally aided persons

Section 33

We have seen from the above that we may be able to recover costs from the opposing side in a case if they reach a settlement or if the Court orders that one party (usually the losing party) pays both sides costs.

This may be enough to cover what it cost us to fund the person’s legal aid, once the person’s contribution has been taken into account. However as we have seen, in family law proceedings both sides will be normally ordered to pay their own costs. In addition even where costs are awarded against the other party that may not be enough to satisfy the cost we spent in providing legal aid.

To that end, the Act allows us to recover our costs from any money or property awarded or obtained by the legally aided person during the time they are legally aided. If money was preserved or recovered, it must be paid into the Legal Aid Fund to allow us to recover our costs. If property was preserved or recovered, it may be subject to an appropriate charge in favour of the Fund, though the applicant has the option of paying our costs in cash first.

There are provisions to allow us to waive our right to recover some or all of our costs, in cases of hardship. These will be examined later in this Part.