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Legal Services in respect of certain inquests

Overview

Section 30(3)(a) of  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 has now decided to establish and maintain a panel of solicitors who are willing to provide services to persons who have been granted a legal aid certificate by the Board for the purpose of  advice and representation in relation to any of the 8 categories of cases set out in Section 60 (5) of the Coroners Act 1962 (inserted by Section 24(b) of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013)

The panel shall be known as the Private Practitioner Coroners Inquest Panel (“the Panel”). 

 

Panel of Solicitors

Any solicitor wishing to be considered  to be placed on the Panel must apply in writing to the Board - the application form.

 

Scope of the scheme

The Scheme shall apply in relation to persons who have been granted legal advice or legal aid by the Board in relation to any of the following inquests following a request by a coroner to the Board under Section 60(4) of the Coroners Act 1962 :  

 (a)  the deceased was, at the time of his or her death or immediately before his or her death, in the custody of the Garda Síochána,

 (b)  the deceased was, at the time of his or her death or immediately before his or her death, in custody in a prison within the meaning of section 2 of the Prisons Act 2007,

 (c)  the deceased was, at the time of his or her death or immediately before his or her death, in service custody within the meaning of section 2 of the Defence Act 1954,

(d)  the deceased was, at the time of his or her death or immediately before his or her death, involuntarily detained under Part 2 of the Mental Health Act 2001 in an approved centre within the meaning of section 2 of that Act,

 (e)  the deceased was, at the time of his or her death or immediately before his or her death, detained in a designated centre within the meaning of section 3 of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006 or was a person to whom section 20 of that Act refers,

 (f)   the deceased was, at the time of his or her death or immediately before his or her death, in custody in a remand centre within the meaning of section 3 of the Children Act 2001 or detained in a children detention school within the meaning of that section,

 (g)  the deceased was, at the time of his or her death or immediately before his or her death, a child in care, or

 (h) the coroner is of the opinion that the death of the deceased occurred in circumstances the continuance or possible recurrence of which would be prejudicial to the health or safety of the public or any section of the public such that there is a significant public interest in the family member of the deceased person being granted legal aid or legal advice, or both, for the purposes of the inquest concerned.”

 

Operation of the scheme

Persons seeking legal services in respect of a coroners inquest as provided under section 60(1) of the Coroners Act 1962 must make their applications for legal representation to a coroner.

If a request for legal services under Section 60 (4) of the Coroners Act 1962 is subsequently made by a coroner to the Board  that a named  person be provided with legal services under the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 the named person must additionally  satisfy the requirements in respect of  financial eligibility specified in Section 29 of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995  and in Regulations made under Section 37 of the said Act and pay to the Board a contribution towards the cost of providing the legal services determined in accordance with regulations under Section 37. 

Once a request for legal services under Section 60 (4) of the Coroners Act 1962 is received from a coroner the Legal Aid Board will send a letter to the nominated family member which:

I. Informs them of their nearest Law Centre

II. Encloses an application form for legal aid

III. Encloses copies of the Board’s information leaflets on financial contributions and on completing the application form.

Fees payable

There shall be a standard scale fee payable to solicitors on the Panel for the provision of services. The Claim Form shall be the document whereby the solicitor shall be entitled to claim the appropriate fee and any authorised outlay.  The appropriate fee is inclusive of any fee that might be paid to a barrister and the Board shall not pay any additional fee for any barrister retained.