Reviews and Appeals of Decisions
Any decision we take can be reviewed and/or appealed. This allows you to have your application reconsidered in the light of fresh information, or for the initial decision to be appealed to an appeal committee of the Board.
A review means that you or your solicitor can submit further information to us and ask us to re-consider our decision. The purpose of the review is to allow us to re-examine – and if appropriate, reverse - their decision to refuse in the light of the new information which is being submitted.
You can request a review through your solicitor (or any member of staff in the law centre, if you have not been told who your solicitor is). You can also contact the decision maker directly to request a review.
You do not need to submit further information for a review. But if you do not it is likely that we will arrive at the same decision. It is in your best interests to submit all the information available when asking for a review. Any review where no new information is received will be conducted by a more senior person than made the original decision.
You must ask for a review within a month of the original decision being taken.
You may also appeal against any decision, including any decision taken following a review of the original decision. Your appeal will be considered by an appeal committee consisting of a chairperson and four ordinary members of the board of the Legal Aid Board of whom two must be practising solicitors or barristers. The members of the appeal committee will not be members of our staff.
You can request an appeal through your solicitor (or any member of staff in the law centre, if you have not been told who your solicitor is). You can also contact our Head Office directly to request an appeal.
You must request an appeal within a month of the original decision being taken, unless you already requested a review. If you requested a review, you have another month after you are told what the outcome of the review was.
The decision of the appeal committee is final.
Decisions to stop your legal aid
We will only stop your legal aid in the most serious circumstances – for example, if you are not co-operating with the terms which we gave you legal aid under, have not paid a contribution, or are behaving aggressively or dangerously towards our staff or the solicitor/barrister we provide for you. You will receive fair warning that we are considering doing so and the reasons why, unless we consider that is dangerous for our staff to do so.
If we consider stopping your legal aid we will write to you telling you that we are intending to withdraw legal advice, revoke your legal aid certificate, or terminate your legal aid certificate. You will have a month after we do this to tell us why we should not do so. At this point we have not taken a final decision and you cannot yet ask for a review or appeal. We will not stop your legal aid until the month is up or you give us information/reasons not to stop it, whichever comes first. We will consider any information or reasons you have given us not to stop your legal aid before we decide whether or not to stop legal aid.
If we do decide to stop your legal aid, we will write to you again to tell you legal advice has been withdrawn or the legal aid certificate has been revoked/terminated. You can then ask us to review the decision and/or appeal the decision.
If we decide to revoke (instead of terminate) the legal aid certificate you will be treated as if you never had legal aid. You will have to repay the Board what it cost us to provide you with legal representation up until that point. We will only do this in the most exceptional of circumstances.