Access to Justice Bill [H.L.] - continued        House of Lords
PART I, THE LEGAL SERVICES COMMISSION - continued
The Community Legal Service - continued

back to previous text
 
Services which may be funded.     7. - (1) The Commission shall set priorities in its funding of services as part of the Community Legal Service and the priorities shall be set-
 
 
    (a) in accordance with any directions given by the Lord Chancellor, and
 
    (b) after taking into account the need for services of the descriptions specified in section 5(2).
      (2) Subject to that (and to subsection (6)), the services which the Commission may fund as part of the Community Legal Service are those which the Commission considers appropriate.
 
      (3) The Commission may fund services as part of the Community Legal Service by-
 
 
    (a) entering into contracts with persons or bodies for the provision of services by them,
 
    (b) making payments to persons or bodies in respect of the provision of services by them,
 
    (c) making grants or loans to persons or bodies to enable them to provide, or facilitate the provision of, services,
 
    (d) establishing and maintaining bodies to provide, or facilitate the provision of, services,
 
    (e) making grants or loans to individuals to enable them to obtain services,
 
    (f) itself providing services, or
 
    (g) doing anything else which it considers appropriate for funding services.
      (4) The Lord Chancellor may by order require the Commission to discharge the function in subsection (3) in accordance with the order.
 
      (5) The Commission may fund as part of the Community Legal Service different descriptions of services or services provided by different means-
 
 
    (a) in relation to different areas or communities in England and Wales, and
 
    (b) in relation to different descriptions of cases.
      (6) The Commission may not fund as part of the Community Legal Service any of the services specified in Schedule 2.
 
      (7) Regulations may amend that Schedule by adding new services or omitting or varying any services.
 
      (8) The Lord Chancellor-
 
 
    (a) may by direction require the Commission to fund the provision of any of the services specified in Schedule 2 in circumstances specified in the direction, and
 
    (b) may authorise the Commission to fund the provision of any of those services in specified circumstances or, if the Commission request him to do so, in an individual case.
      (9) The Lord Chancellor shall either-
 
 
    (a) publish, or
 
    (b) require the Commission to publish,
  any authorisation under subsection (8)(b) unless it relates to an individual case (in which case he or the Commission may publish it if appropriate).
 
Individuals for whom services may be funded.     8. - (1) The Commission may only fund services for an individual as part of the Community Legal Service if his financial resources are such that, under regulations, he is an individual for whom they may be so funded.
 
      (2) Regulations may provide that, in prescribed circumstances and subject to any prescribed conditions, services of a prescribed description may be so funded for individuals without reference to their financial resources.
 
      (3) Regulations under this section may include provision requiring the furnishing of information.
 
Code about provision of funded services.     9. - (1) The Commission shall prepare a code setting out the criteria according to which it is to decide whether to fund (or continue to fund) services as part of the Community Legal Service for an individual for whom they may be so funded and, if so, what services are to be funded for him.
 
      (2) In settling the criteria to be set out in the code the Commission shall consider the extent to which they ought to reflect the following factors-
 
 
    (a) the likely cost of funding the services and the benefit which may be obtained by their being provided,
 
    (b) the availability of sums in the Community Legal Service Fund for funding the services and (having regard to present and likely future demands on that Fund) the appropriateness of applying them to fund the services,
 
    (c) the importance of the matters in relation to which the services would be provided for the individual,
 
    (d) the availability to the individual of services not funded by the Commission and the likelihood of his being able to avail himself of them,
 
    (e) if the services are sought by the individual in relation to a dispute, the prospects of his success in the dispute,
 
    (f) the conduct of the individual in connection with services funded as part of the Community Legal Service (or an application for funding) or in, or in connection with, any proceedings,
 
    (g) the public interest, and
 
    (h) such other factors as the Lord Chancellor may by order require the Commission to consider.
      (3) The criteria set out in the code shall reflect the principle that in many family disputes mediation will be more appropriate than court proceedings.
 
      (4) The code shall seek to secure that, where more than one description of service is available, the service funded is that which (in all the circumstances) is the most appropriate having regard to the criteria set out in the code.
 
      (5) The code shall also specify procedures for the making of decisions about the funding of services by the Commission as part of the Community Legal Service, including-
 
 
    (a) provision about the form and content of applications for funding,
 
    (b) provision requiring the furnishing of information or imposing other conditions which must be satisfied by an individual applying for funding,
 
    (c) provision requiring applicants to be informed of the reasons for any decision to refuse an application,
 
    (d) provision for the giving of information to individuals whose applications are refused about alternative ways of obtaining or funding services, and
 
    (e) provision establishing procedures for appeals against decisions about funding and for the giving of information about those procedures.
      (6) The code may make different provision for different purposes.
 
      (7) The Commission may from time to time prepare a revised version of the code.
 
      (8) Before preparing the code the Commission shall undertake such consultation as appears to it to be appropriate; and before revising the code the Commission shall undertake such consultation as appears to it to be appropriate unless it considers that it is desirable for the revised version to come into force without delay.
 
      (9) The Lord Chancellor may by order require the Commission to discharge its functions relating to the code in accordance with the order.
 
Procedure relating to funding code.     10. - (1) After preparing the code or a revised version of the code the Commission shall send a copy to the Lord Chancellor.
 
      (2) If he approves it he shall lay it before each House of Parliament.
 
      (3) The Commission shall publish-
 
 
    (a) the code as first approved by the Lord Chancellor, and
 
    (b) where he approves a revised version, either the revisions or the revised code as appropriate.
      (4) The code as first approved by the Lord Chancellor shall not come into force until it has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
 
      (5) A revised version of the code which does not contain changes in the criteria set out in the code shall not come into force until it has been laid before each House of Parliament.
 
      (6) Subject as follows, a revised version of the code which does contain such changes shall not come into force until it has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
 
      (7) Where the Lord Chancellor considers that it is desirable for a revised version of the code containing such changes to come into force without delay, he may (when laying the revised version before Parliament) also lay before each House a statement of his reasons for so considering.
 
      (8) In that event the revised version of the code-
 
 
    (a) shall not come into force until it has been laid before each House of Parliament, and
 
    (b) shall cease to have effect at the end of the period of 120 days beginning with the day on which it comes into force unless a resolution approving it has been made by each House (but without that affecting anything previously done in accordance with it).
Terms of provision of funded services.     11. - (1) An individual for whom services are funded by the Commission as part of the Community Legal Service shall not be required to make any payment in respect of the services except where regulations otherwise provide.
 
      (2) Regulations may provide that, in prescribed circumstances, an individual for whom services are so funded shall-
 
 
    (a) pay a fee of such amount as is fixed by or determined under the regulations,
 
    (b) if his financial resources are, or conduct such as is specified in section 9(2)(f) is, such as to make him liable to do so under the regulations, pay the cost of the services or make a contribution in respect of the cost of the services of such amount as is so fixed or determined, or
 
    (c) if the services relate to a dispute and he has agreed to make a payment (which may exceed the cost of the services) only in specified circumstances, make in those circumstances a payment of the amount agreed, or determined in the manner agreed, by him.
      (3) The regulations may include provision-
 
 
    (a) for any amount payable in accordance with the regulations to be payable by periodical payments or one or more capital sums, or both, and
 
    (b) for capital sums to be payable in instalments.
      (4) The regulations may also include provision for the payment by an individual of interest (on such terms as may be prescribed) in respect of-
 
 
    (a) any loan made to him by the Commission as part of the Community Legal Service,
 
    (b) any payment required to be made by him by the regulations in respect of the cost of services which is required to be made later than the time when the cost is incurred, or
 
    (c) so much of any payment required by the regulations to be made by him which remains unpaid after the time when it is required to be paid.
      (5) The regulations shall include provision for the repayment to an individual of any payment made by him in excess of his liability under the regulations.
 
      (6) The regulations may-
 
 
    (a) include provision requiring the furnishing of information, and
 
    (b) make provision for the determination of the cost of services for the purposes of the regulations.
      (7) Except so far as regulations otherwise provide, where services have been funded by the Commission for an individual as part of the Community Legal Service-
 
 
    (a) sums expended by the Commission in funding the services (except to the extent that they are recovered under section 12), and
 
    (b) other sums payable by the individual by virtue of regulations under this section,
  shall constitute a first charge on any property recovered or preserved by him (whether for himself or any other person) in any proceedings or in any compromise or settlement of any dispute in connection with which the services were provided.
 
      (8) Regulations may make provision about the charge, including provision as to whether it is in favour of the Commission or the body or person by whom the services were provided and provision about its enforcement.
 
Costs in funded cases.     12. - (1) Where services relating to a dispute have been funded by the Commission for an individual as part of the Community Legal Service, his liability under an order for costs made against him in proceedings relating to the dispute shall not exceed the amount (if any) which is a reasonable one for him to pay having regard to all the circumstances including-
 
 
    (a) the financial resources of all the parties to the proceedings, and
 
    (b) their conduct in connection with the dispute;
  and, in assessing the financial resources of an individual for whom such services have been so funded, his clothes and household furniture and the tools and implements of his trade shall not be taken into account, except so far as may be prescribed.
 
      (2) Subject to that, regulations may make provision about costs in cases in which services have been funded by the Commission for any of the parties as part of the Community Legal Service.
 
      (3) The regulations may, in particular, make provision-
 
 
    (a) specifying the principles to be applied in determining the amount of any costs which may be awarded against a party for whom the services were funded,
 
    (b) limiting the circumstances in which, or extent to which, an order for costs may be enforced against such a party,
 
    (c) requiring the payment by the Commission of the whole or part of any costs awarded against such a party,
 
    (d) as to the cases in which, and extent to which, such a party may be required to give security for costs and the manner in which it is to be given,
 
    (e) specifying the principles to be applied in determining the amount of any costs which may be awarded to such a party,
 
    (f) requiring the payment to the Commission, or the person or body by which the services were provided, of the whole or part of any sum awarded by way of costs to such a party, and
 
    (g) as to the court, tribunal or other person or body by whom the amount of any costs is to be determined and the extent to which any determination of that amount is to be final.
 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Lords home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1999
Prepared 17 February 1999