Applying for legal aid
The findings and conclusions contained in the independent medical expert report should determine whether or not there is a stateable case. In circumstances, where the findings and conclusion are not supportive of a stateable case the applicant/ client should be advised of the legal and procedural implications of instituting proceedings in such circumstances. The Board should be notified of the client’s up to date instructions and an application for legal aid with the appropriate recommendation should be made to Legal Services
Prior to the application for legal aid being made, the applicant should bring the two letters they were earlier advised to obtain from private solicitors indicating that they will not take the case on a “no win no fee” basis. These letters should be scanned by the solicitor, uploaded to EOS, and made available to Legal Services. If the applicant is unable or unwilling to provide these letters the procedure applies as for intended plaintiffs in personal injuries cases as detailed above.
Where the findings and conclusions are supportive of a finding of negligence, junior counsel’s opinion may be obtained on, among other things, the issues of causation, nexus, liability and damages. All of the relevant medical records together with the independent medical expert’s opinion should be furnished to counsel together with a copy of the client’s Statement of Facts and a case summary prepared by the solicitor including full details in respect of special damages.
Where counsel’s opinion is supportive the solicitor should advise the client in accordance with the legal opinion. On the client’s instructions a further application to Legal Services should be made for an amended legal aid certificate for authority to engage Counsel to draft the Personal Injuries Summons.
The application should be supported by the independent medical expert report and Counsel’s Opinion with a recommendation from the solicitor on the estimated numbers of hours required to draft the Personal Injuries Summons and possibly the Section 8 Letter.