Under Regulation 15(10) of The Civil Legal Services (General) Regulations (NI) 2015, the Agency will not require a means test to be completed in an application for an appeal in certain circumstances.
First, the certificate for the substantive proceedings must have been means tested and it must be a representation higher certificate. Secondly, the second application must relate to proceedings in an appellate court or by way of a new trial ordered by an appellate court.
If both of the above conditions are met you will be asked if your client’s financial circumstances have altered since the means test was applied in the substantive proceedings. If they have not altered then you will be able to legally link the application and you will not be required to submit any further financial documents.
If the above criteria is not met then the matter cannot be legally linked and you will be required to submit all of your client’s financial proofs.
Please note that you cannot legally link a representation lower certificate to a representation higher appeal application – e.g. seeking to appeal a decision of the Family Proceedings Court to the Family Care Centre. This is because the representation lower certificate was granted on a different means test. If an application is made in this way it will be withdrawn and the solicitor will be advised to submit a fresh application for the appeal.
Q2. I have a representation lower certificate but the case has now been transferred to a higher court. What should I do?
You will need to make an application for a representation higher certificate. Do not “legally link” the cases. A representation lower certificate cannot be linked to a representation higher application as the financial tests for the two levels of service are different. Please ensure that you upload the transfer order which confirms the transfer and the grounding application.
Q3. I have a representation lower certificate and I want to appeal a decision to a higher court. What should I do?
If you hold a representation lower certificate and you wish to appeal to a higher court you will need to make an application to representation higher. Please include, inter alia, the order against which you seek to appeal and the notice of appeal. Do not legally link the applications as a representation lower certificate cannot be legally linked to a representation higher application.
Q4. I have a representation higher certificate and I want to appeal a decision to a higher court. What should I do?
If you have a representation higher certificate and you wish to appeal to a higher court then you may be able to legally link the new appeal application to the current certificate (see FAQ on legally linking). The effect of this is that the means assessment, which was conducted for the first application will “pull through” to the appeal application – you will not therefore need to submit new financial proofs. The caveat to this is that where there is a change of financial circumstances since the date of the first application and you will need to complete up to date financial eligibility information for the appeal application. Please include, inter alia, the order against which you seek to appeal and the notice of appeal.