Changes are being made on 10 January 2023 to ensure individuals receiving cost of living support payments are not disadvantaged when applying for legal aid
Amendments to civil and crime regulations take effect on 10 January to protect legal aid clients receiving cost of living support payments.
Why is this happening now?
Financial support payments are being made by the government to help the vulnerable during the cost of living crisis. Making this change now will align this initiative with legal aid eligibility assessments.
The idea is to ensure funds received under this government initiative do not have to be used to pay for legal services.
Which payments are being disregarded?
The payments which will be disregarded from 10 January 2023 are being made under the:
Energy Prices Act 2022
Social Security (Additional Payments) Act 2022
This change means expanding the list of payments to be disregarded when calculating an individual’s financial eligibility for legal aid.
Which areas of legal aid are affected?
The changes, to include these new disregards, will apply to both the civil and criminal legal aid means test schemes. They will come into effect on 10 January 2023.
Where can I find out more?
Amendments to legal aid eligibility legislation can be found in the relevant civil and crime regulations listed below.
We are also updating GOV.UK guidance to explain what these payments are and what you need to disregard when making financial determinations.
Explanatory memorandum to regulations – this sets out purpose of the changes
Crime Keycard 46 – scroll to ‘further guidance’