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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Can you tell me if legal aid can be used to deliberately make

Customer Question

Can you tell me if legal aid can be used to deliberately make false accusations by a pursuer when a defender loses his/her lawyer. The Pursuer in the case in question put was awarded legal aid to pursue a case against my brother. Initially she was alleging her owed her £25,000. When he lost his lawyer almost 6 months later she then submitted an amendment to the court for a further £5000 for personal property she alleges he kept. He is trying to fight this himself but this is a downright lie and it has been accepted by the court because he was not able to make an objection to it. Surely this is a abuse of the legal aid system. What can my brother do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

I need to understand this better. Legal aid is granted to enable a party to have legal representation to pursue or defend a case.

The pursuer had legal aid to pursue a case which was initially for £25000 and was then adjusted upwards by a further £5000.

At that time your brother no longer had a lawyer.

He is defending the case himself.

She has legal aid I presume.

Your objection is that the sum sued for has increased.

Can you tell me why that is a legal aid issue in your opinion?

Can you also tell me why your brother became unrepresented?

Can you give me some information about the dispute?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She was already receiving legal aid to pursue her case which she had been receiving from the time she decided to make her initial claim. She is using the same lawyer to lodge the amendment to the claim.


 


My brother had to let his lawyer go as it was costing too much. He was told he was not entitled to legal aid so he has had to try and defend the case himself.


 


The pursuer was my brother's girlfriend for a year or so before selling her property and moving in with him. She was a childminder and became unemployed in June 2011 as she was selling her house. My brother was financing herself and her son. She wanted to set up a business so it was decided that she would pay for an extension to the property when she sold her own in October 2011. THis was to provide a room for her son and she would have the money to set up her business. In July 2011 my brother paid for an upgrade to his kitchen. He left his partner the cash to pay the joiner (who was a friend of her family) and to pay for any other extras (£1600). This same joiner agreed to build the loft extension. The materials were purchased at trade cost via a family member, total cost extension was £15,000. Unfortunately the relationship broke down due to the pursuer's outrageous behaviour. My brother put her out. My brother contacted her to arrange for her to pick up her furniture and belongings. This she done via her brother and son. My brother gave her everything, Furniture, clothing and other possessions. He left himself with absolutely nothing in the house. I had to give him furniture from my spare room as he had nothing and could not afford to buy new. Before the relationship my brother was working in Africa and she was using his bank card to keep herself and son. She was not paying anything towards mortgage or other household bills. This came to almost £11,000, probably more but its what he can prove. She is now claiming that she paid the kitchen for the kitchen renovation as she paid the joiner with the money he left. She is also claiming he didn't give her the furniture back. He told her at the very beginning he would not be able to pay her back but now she is claiming she paid £25,000 towards the renovations to the flat and she wants £5,000 for the belongings he allegedly kept. There was a valuation done which came back at £60,000, he has secured debts on it for £48,000. He had a valuation done via Payplan which came back at £47,000. She has her business which she is claiming she didn't think about starting until April 2012. The whole thing has turned into a nightmare.

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your narrative. However can you advise what the legal aid issue is?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Surely legal aid is supposed to be used for a valid issue. This lodgement was only made because the pursuer thought he was not going to be able to defend himself and she would be automatically awarded the extra £5,000. When my brother turned up at court on the day and time he was to be there. The court had dealt with the matter and made a decision without him being there. Surely this can't be right. They had to call the pursuer's lawyer back and deal with the matter again. Surely this can't be right.

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
I'm not following everything here as regards what procedure has already taken place. However I suspect that the legal aid issue is irrelevant. If she has applied to the court to amend her action to include things that weren't originally there then she can do so by adjustment if the case hasn't yet reached an Options Hearing. If the Record has been closed then she can do so by way of amendment with leave of the court.

So your narrative would have to be responded to on that basis but the grant of legal aid and the merits of the case stand separately from each other.

From what you say your brother can't deal with this himself. He will have to raise the funds to get a lawyer of his own. He is causing himself serious prejudice by not doing so.

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