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ukfamilysolicitor
ukfamilysolicitor, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 837
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor Currently specialising in Family. Also experienced in Corporate, Employment, Civil Litigation, Debt Recovery
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My partner had legal aid in the past and the case was closed.

Customer Question

Hi, my partner had legal aid in the past and the case was closed. This was regarding a divorce and residency for the children. We are now going to court and financing this ourselves in order to change the residency order because we are moving out of the area. I am now living with my partner and have a highly paid job. She has been asked to fill in a CIVMEANS1 form and must surely include me on the form as her parntmer. Does this mean that she will have to pay back the money to Legal Aid or is that only if she had a financial pay out with respect to the case pais by Legal Aid?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
Welcome to Just Answer
I am a Solicitor and will assist you.
In this case in respect of children matters only? Divorce and finance not included?
Kind Regards
Caroline
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. Children's matters only. Not finances. We are about to go to court regarding finances but this will be paid for by me.
Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
If the assessment proves you qualify in respect of both of your means and the public funding certificate is only granted for children matters - then the statutory charge will not apply. This means the costs under the children certificate will not have to be repaid.
Kind Regards
Caroline
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It asks for wage slips. Do I need to provide this, my partner (who had the legal aid) don't have any? Does she mention me? She qualified at the time for legal aid, now, obviously she don't but this form is in relation to the past.

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
Sorry bit confused - can you clarify for me:
- are these forms relating to a new application for public funding?
- if relating to an old certificate - when was the work on the old file completed? Are they asking for a re-assessment of means?
Kind Regards
Caroline
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well the original case was closed in 2011. But I believe that legal aid was re-opened in April 2015 for th change of the order. In May I moved in with my partner and we stopped legal aid immediately and started paying ourselves. After that they are asking for an assessment. My partner was entitled before but now I am living with she is not entitled. But if they assess my income from the begining she will most probably have to pay it all. I think this is not an assessment looking at the original case that closed in 2011 where legal aid paid around £3,000 for child matters before we had met.

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
Thank you for your message.
They won't be counting your income from the 2011 case when that one closed.
You only need to tell the Legal Aid Agency from when your circumstances changed - which you did in the May. At this reassessment point the LAA have assessed that your partner no longer qualifies and the Legal Aid would have ended - which you say it did.
The LAA should therefore have no need to ask for a reassessment now.
I wonder if when you moved in the May - you didn't officially reassess and you just stopped using legal aid? If this is the case then your solicitor will be able to inform legal aid that the last work completed under legal was then and that the solicitors claim for costs under legal aid will only be limited til then. Sometimes a delay in billing can occur which means that legal aid might not know that the work done under legal aid has ended. If this is the case then your solicitor will be able to rectify this.
Kind Regards
Caroline
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes I think that is what happened that the solicitor cancelled Legal Aid and we stopped using them. The solicitor said don't fill in the form and she contacted Legal Aid to explain the situation. Legal Aid have said that they still want the form, see soliciotors letter attached.

Expert:  ukfamilysolicitor replied 1 year ago.
Hello
It appears that your solicitor took too long to discharge the certificate.
Your going to have to fill in the forms.
If the certificate is discharged then you won't have to pay back the costs - but if it is Revoked then they could seek costs back. This will only be from this certificate though and not a previous one.
I would advise:
1) ring the LAA tell them no further work was completed post the change of circumstances in May 2015
2) still fill in the forms but also attach a cover letter saying that the certificate should have been revoked in May
3) complain to the solicitors firm for not seeking to revoke the certificate sooner
As long as your proactive now - it will be ok - just explain the misunderstanding and fill in the forms
Kind Regards
Caroline