The Civil Legal Services Appeals Panel is an independent appellate panel appointed by the Department of Justice to consider appeals that arise from decisions of the Legal Services Agency Northern Ireland (LSANI) in respect of matters that are in scope, namely:
(a) As to whether to fund, or continue to fund, civil legal services for an individual by way of representation (higher courts).
(b) As to the level of representation authorised for that individual.
Consider appeals as and when required pursuant to The Civil Legal Services (Appeal) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015.
The CLSAP have the same powers of the director as per Regulation 27(1) and can:
(a) dismiss the appeal;
(b) direct the director to issue or amend a certificate subject to such terms and conditions as the panel think fit; or
(c) refer the matter or any part of it back for determination or report by the director.
An appeal request should be received by the Agency within 1 month of the date of notification of the refusal decision as per Regulation 8(1).
The matter shall be referred to a Presiding Member (PM) of the CLSAP, as per Regulation 8(2), for consideration.
The reasons for refusal should be completed in accordance with Regulation 10(2):
- Suppliers should not write ‘see application’. The Agency has the power to return an appeal for reasons to be fully addressed and the initial time frame to submit an appeal still applies so it is in a supplier’s interest to fully address the reasons for refusal advanced at the earliest opportunity Regulation 10(4).
CLSAP determine the appeal on the same material the original decision maker (adjudicator) had available unless the director is satisfied that the appellant could not with reasonable diligence have obtained that material prior to bringing the appeal, as per Regulation 10(3).
Any oral hearing will be at the direction of the Presiding Member (PM) if they consider an oral hearing necessary having considered the provision of Regulation 26. When the appeal request is submitted, the supplier should address this provision. Notification as to whether an oral hearing has been directed will be provided to the supplier by LSANI at the first opportunity.
This is the process of requesting genuinely urgent appeals to be tabled before the CLSAP.
Please refer to the Guidance for Tabling Appeals before the Appeals Panel which is available on the LSANI website.
The decision of the CLSAP is final and cannot be appealed pursuant to Regulation 27(3). If new information comes to light that was not previously available a fresh legal aid application may be submitted.