Requests from the courts for information about applicants
These guidelines are designed to ensure the accuracy and consistency of information provided to the courts in relation to applicants for legal services, where a person advises the court that an application has been made for legal services and that the applicant is on the applications record.
This will help to avoid a situation where a person defending an action provides information that may reflect negatively on the law centre or on the Board. It will ensure that information is available to courts on whether a person has applied to a law centre for legal services and, if so, when the application was made.
Where a person has applied to a law centre for legal services, all solicitors should be aware and should so advise the court, where appropriate, that it is the policy of the Board for law centres to issue a letter, on request, to the applicant containing the following information:-
- the date on which the application was made;
- the general timeline for a triage appointment and whether the applicant received an appointment;
- the matter to which the application relates;
- whether further information is required from the applicant; and
- the estimated waiting time for a further appointment at the relevant law centre.
When a query is received by Legal Services on whether a particular applicant is on an applications record at a law centre, the person making the query will be advised that the Board is not authorised to disclose such information but that it is the Board’s policy to provide a letter to the applicant as set out above. The precedent letter which should be used is on the next page.
Confidentiality will be ensured by the fact that, where a person has applied to a law centre for legal services, the letter confirming this is given only to the applicant.
If an applicant/client asks for a letter of this nature, it should be provided in accordance with the above guidelines.
But remember Data Protection! Do not provide this information to anyone other than the applicant/client.
APP006. Letter to be sent to applicant / client requiring information
APP006.Awaiting Second Consultation workflow.
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
Mr John Smith
1 Main Street
30th September 2016
RE: APPLICATION FOR LEGAL SERVICES
Dear Mr Smith,
I refer to your enquiry of __________________.
On _____________ 20__, you submitted an application for legal services in relation to ____________.
Based on the information provided, you have been deemed financially eligible for legal services.
You were given an appointment with a solicitor on _____________.
Owing to the demand at this time, you have been placed on an applications record(waiting list) for a further appointment. The applications record is currently _months long.
Please note that if you are applying for legal aid (representation in court) your application will be
subject to a merits test which will be carried out after you have seen a solicitor.
Your application for legal services is currently incomplete. We require that you submit _________________.
Upon receipt, we will determine whether or not you are financially eligible for legal services. You will be informed in writing of the outcome of your application. If you are deemed financially eligible for legal services, we will be able to give you an estimated date of appointment at the law centre at that stage.
I trust this answers your query. If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Law Centre (insert)