Key messages for legal aid suppliers - March 2022

Date published: 13 April 2022

The LSA has issued the key messages for legal aid suppliers for March 2022.

Graphic for legal services agency northern ireland key messages

LAMS re-registration

Each solicitor firm, individual solicitor and barrister registered to use the Agency’s Legal Aid Management System (LAMS) must re-register in June 2022 to be able to continue to transact business with the Agency.

The re-registration window will open on 1 June 2022 and close on 30 June 2022. All practitioners who wish to continue to transact business with the Agency must re-register.

It is important to ensure your email address is current and that your account administrator details are also correct as they will be responsible for renewing the business account.

Domestic abuse waiver

Practitioners are reminded the discretionary domestic abuse waiver was introduced on 22 February 2022. Practitioners should familiarise themselves with the LSANI guidance – seeking the domestic abuse waiver’ to be read alongside the DoJ Guidance ‘DoJ guidance – seeking the domestic abuse waiver in legal aid applications’ – both guidance documents can be located within the ‘Legislation and guidance’ area of the website. LSA Circular 06-22 provides an introduction to the guidance for application of the domestic abuse waiver.

The discretionary domestic abuse waiver is limited to an applicant for legal aid where each of the following conditions are met, namely the applicant for legal aid:

  • is or appears to be a victim of domestic abuse;
  • is seeking funding as a respondent in proceedings relating to an Order under Article 8 of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995;
  • is responding to proceedings brought by the person who perpetrated or apparently perpetrated the abusive behaviour; and
  • is personally connected to the individual who brought the Article 8 application.

Practitioners should familiarise themselves with the supporting documents which must be submitted with an application in which the exercise of the discretionary waiver is sought. This information is contained in paragraph 6 of the LSANI guidance. Should supporting documentation not be submitted a query will be raised on the application asking for supporting documentation and processing will be delayed.

Domestic violence scheme

Practitioners are reminded of the domestic violence scheme for domestic violence proceedings in the Domestic Proceedings Court and are referred to the Frequently Asked Questions on Domestic Violence Proceedings.

In particular, question 3 provides guidance on the application of Regulation 10 of the Legal Services (Financial) Regulations (NI) Order 2015 providing a waiver of the financial eligibility limit for applications for Legal Aid for representation in non-molestation orders under Article 20 of the Domestic Violence (NI) Order 1998 in the lower courts. Practitioners should complete the Financial Assessment DV Scheme form and upload this form with such applications.

Limitations on certificates

Practitioners are reminded that where there are limitations on a certificate for a grant of civil legal services, work carried out should be within those limits. Should further work be necessary an amendment request should be made on LAMS prior to that work being carried out.

What you might have missed

Please note that the LSANI have published the following on the Agency’s website:

Notes to editors: 

Please note that printable PDF versions of the key messages are located within the 'Useful information for legal aid suppliers' page under the title 'Key messages'.

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