About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Legal Aid Update: Emergency Certificates

Kindly written & supplied by Jerry Bull (Managing Director of Atkins Hope, Solicitors in Croydon) & Samantha Little (Partner & Head of the Children Law Team at Russell-Cooke in Kingston) from their talk to the ALC Conference.


PROCEEDINGS CODES AND GUIDANCE (which you will need when exercising delegated functions)

You will find the following information and links to tables on this page

• Civil representation - guidance on proceeding codes and limitations
• Proceedings codes and standard wordings for post-April 2013 certificates
• Proceedings codes and standard wordings for pre-April 2013 certificates
• Standard limitation codes

1. We are usually expected to limit emergency certificates granted under delegated functions to a particular hearing.

2. If so you will not be able to attend any other hearing unless the certificate is amended either by delegated functions if the emergency certificate has not been dealt with or by APP8.

3. Also note that emergency certificates only last for 8 weeks so unless LAA has agreed to extend the duration of the emergency certificate you will not get paid for any work after the 8 week period.

4. LAA will look to check there are no gaps between the expiry of the emergency limitation and the start of the substantive certificate. In the rush of getting hearings covered and protecting our client’s position it is very easy to forget to protect our own position.

5. If the substantive certificate allows for attendance at any necessary hearing then you will be covered from the start of the emergency certificate even if there is a gap as this will repair that problem.

6. However, if a more restrictive scope limitation is imposed by the substantive certificate then that will be imposed on the emergency certificate.

7. Ultimately you must read each certificate to check exactly what it covers.

8 We are not covering means assessments in any detail but please note that from 1.4.13, there are no passporting benefits as to capital so even if a client is on a passporting income benefit (Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Guarantee Credit or Universal Credit (Pathfinder)), they still need to be assessed as to capital. This makes the use of delegated functions even more risky for solicitors.

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