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Settlements with non legally aided persons

Section 33(5)

The Act provides that a legally aided person can’t agree to a settlement with a non legally aided person where:

  • They give up their costs;
  • They agree to meet the non-legally aided person’s costs; or
  • They accept a sum in satisfaction of their costs
    without our approval.

If you are negotiating a settlement with a non legally aided person, and any of the above criteria apply, you must apply to Legal Services to agree to the settlement.

If a settlement is being negotiated and money or property is an issue between the parties:-

  • you should apply to Legal Services for a decision on whether costs will be retained
  • if it is not possible/feasible to contact Legal Services, you should only proceed with a settlement if the client is fully advised of the liability for costs; and
  • in all cases, you should settle cases only on the basis that the full costs will be recovered by us and that the primary liability for costs will rest with the legally aided person.

As a decision maker, if you receive a submission for authority to conclude a settlement, you must not approve it unless the following conditions are included in the settlement (all conditions that are appropriate in the particular case):

  • Any money received will be paid into the Legal Aid Fund
  • Any property recovered or preserved will be charged with the amount remaining of our costs (if no money is received, or the money received won’t cover our costs)
  • In non family law cases, that confirmation the person’s solicitor will, where appropriate, seek liberty to apply to the court in relation to the issue of solicitor/client costs for the purpose of Order 99 of the Rules of the Superior Courts, or other appropriate procedure