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Advice and assistance and civil legal aid keycard


About the Keycard

This Keycard sets out the various eligibility limits, contributions and clawback levels in advice and assistance and civil legal aid in force from 8 April 2019. During the course of this year there may be further updates and changes to this Keycard.

For more guidance on eligibility, contributions and clawback, please refer to the Legal Assistance Handbooks.

This page contains the keycard information for:

Advice and assistance

Civil legal aid

You can also download this keycard as a PDF.

 

Definitions used in the keycard

 

Advice and Assistance

 

Assessing eligibility

A client’s income and capital must be within the current financial limits to qualify for advice and assistance.

We recommend you assess their disposable capital before assessing income, since if they do not qualify on capital, they are ineligible for advice and assistance – even if they receive “passport” benefits (that is, Universal Credit, Income Support, an income-related employment and support allowance or income- based jobseeker’s allowance).

Assessing eligibility on capital

Disposable capital – from 8 April 2019

£1,716 maximum eligibility*

A person whose disposable capital exceeds the capital limit of £1,716 is NOT eligible for advice and assistance, whatever their disposable income or eligibility for a passport benefit.

To calculate disposable capital, you should:

*This limit does not apply to advice and assistance given to suspects being questioned by the police at police stations where no financial tests now apply.

Assessing eligibility on income

Disposable income - from 8 April 2019

£245 a week maximum for eligibility*
 
A person whose disposable income exceeds the income limit of £245 a week is NOT eligible for advice and assistance, whatever their disposable capital, unless they receive a passport benefit (Income Support, an income-related employment and support allowance, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or Universal Credit).

“Income” means the total income, from all sources, which the client and their partner received or became entitled to during or in respect of the seven days up to and including the date of the application.

This excludes income that is the subject matter of the dispute – for example, maintenance being claimed which is part of the subject matter of the advice. Deduct income tax and national insurance contributions from income.

*This limit does not apply to advice and assistance given to suspects being questioned by the police at police stations where no financial tests now apply.

Allowances

You should deduct the following standard allowances against income for the maintenance of:

Partner  living with the applicant
£41.75
Any dependant person, adult (other than partner) or child (but do not include any foster children), who is wholly or substantially maintained, being a member of the applicant’s household

£66.90


Deduct the actual maintenance paid for the last seven days, not the standard allowance, if:

Civil advice and assistance – diagnostic cases

 

Initial limit of authorised expenditure

Increases in authorised expenditure
An increase in authorised expenditure is only effective from the date we grant it.

We cannot authorise increases retrospectively and if you do any work not covered by the authorised expenditure at any given time, we cannot pay for it.

Clawback and regulation 16(3)


Civil legal aid

Eligibility limits

To do work as a matter of special urgency under regulation 18, you have to complete the online declaration form which is designed to assist you to assess your client’s financial eligibility. The form can be found either in section D of the CIV/SOL Family or CIV/SOL Non Family applications or in the Special Urgency application. To complete the form you need to apply the current eligibility limits and allowances, which are:

 

Disposable income

The lower disposable income limit, on or below which a person will not have to pay a contribution from income £3,521
The upper disposable income limit, above which a person will be ineligible on income £26,239

 

Allowances for a partner and dependants

Partner living with the applicant £2,177
For any dependant person who is wholly or substantially maintained, being a member of the applicant’s household, who is not entitled to any income from any source in their own right £3,488

Particular situations

Calculating income contributions

Disposable capital
The lower capital eligibility limit, on or below which a person will not have to pay a contribution £7,853
The upper capital eligibility limit, above which SLAB may refuse a person legal aid if it considers they can afford to proceed without it £13,017

If someone’s disposable capital is between £7,853 and £13,017 they are eligible on capital, but will have to pay a contribution. This contribution is equal to the difference between their capital and £7,853.

Unlike advice and assistance there are no statutory allowances from capital for partners or dependants.

Clawback limits



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