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Eight out of 617 family law applications for exceptional case funding have been successful

MoJ statistical release covers 1st April to 31st December 2013

An ad hoc statistical release by the Ministry of Justice on the 13th March 2014 reveals that between 1st April and 31st December 2014 only eight applications to the Legal Aid Agency for exceptional case funding in family proceedings were successful.

The period covered by the release relates to that following implementation of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, by which section 10 introduced the practice of applying for Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) from the 1 April 2013.

An ECF application for civil legal services is made where a case falls outside the scope of legal aid but the client or conducting solicitor believes there is evidence to support there being a requirement to provide funding because failure to do so would be a breach of, or having regard to any risk that failure to do so would be such a breach of, their Convention rights (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998), or any rights of the individual to the provision of legal services that are enforceable EU rights.

A typical family application is in private family law proceedings. In particular these might concern the right of contact with and residence of the applicant's child or the division of matrimonial assets.

The release shows that 617 such applications were made in respect of family proceedings. Of these 8 (a little over 1%) were granted. 426 were refused. 161 were rejected (ie either the application was in scope for a non exceptional legal aid application, or not enough information has been provided in the application to make a determination: the split between these reasons is not given). Three were withdrawn and 18 decisions are awaited.

The statistical release, which covers all civil proceedings, is here.