Private Practitioner Scheme for the District Court
The Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 (“the Act”) provides that the Legal Aid Board (“the Board”) may establish and maintain a panel of solicitors who are willing to provide legal aid and advice to persons who are in receipt of legal services. The Board maintains a panel of solicitors who are willing to provide services to persons who have been granted a legal aid certificate by the Board in certain family law matters in the District Court, known as the Private Practitioner District Court Panel.
Panel of Solicitors
Any solicitor/firm wishing to be considered, in accordance with the terms and conditions, to have his, her or their name placed on the Panel must apply in writing to the Board. The solicitor/firm must give an undertaking to comply with these terms and conditions and the provisions of the Act when providing legal aid and/or advice
Operation of the scheme
Persons seeking legal aid services make their applications at law centres. In the event that an applicant is granted a legal aid certificate for any District Court proceedings that are covered by this Scheme, the Board may refer the person to the Panel to select a solicitor/firm from the Panel to act on their behalf. Either the Board or the legally aided person then notifies the solicitor and provides them with the following documents:
- the legal aid certificate which includes the legally aided person’s name, the nature of the proceedings authorised and the steps authorised on foot of those proceedings, in terms of the expenditure on witnesses that may be incurred; and
- a Claim Form on which the legal aid certificate number should be entered.
The certificate shall be the solicitor’s authority to provide legal aid to the client under this Scheme. Part III of the certificate should be retained by the solicitor / firm on the client file. Part IV of the certificate should be attached to the Claim Form for payment of the fee and any outlay, when the case is concluded.
Legal services cannot be provided under the Scheme without a valid legal aid certificate.
Scope of the Scheme
The Scheme will apply only in relation to persons who have been granted legal aid certificates issued by the Board for family law proceedings in the District Court regarding:
- maintenance (other than enforcement through the District Court clerk)
- custody / access
- domestic violence
There is a standard scale of fees payable per case to solicitors/firms on the Panel for the provision of services. Claims may be made on the CF 1 Claim form