Appointment of Civil Legal Services Appeal Panels

Date published: 29 March 2019

The Permanent Secretary of the Department of Justice, Peter May, today announced the names of additional appointees to the Civil Legal Services Appeal Panels, who will consider appeals regarding the granting of legal aid in civil cases.

Four Presiding Members, listed below, will be appointed with effect from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2024:

Ciaran Harvey

Jim Kitson

Charles Redpath

Htaik Win

Eight Other Members, listed below, will be appointed with effect from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2024:

Keith Dunn

Louisa Fee

Kristina Gordon

Johanna Higgins

Steven Millar

Anne Mullan

Sean O’Hare

Deep Sagar

Presiding Members are remunerated £350 per sitting and Ordinary Members are remunerated £250 per sitting, which includes preparation required and attendance at each sitting of the Appeal Panel.


The procedure for this appointment was not regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland; however, insofar as was possible, the principles of the Code of Practice for Ministerial Public Appointments in Northern Ireland were followed.


Notes to editors: 

1.  The Northern Ireland Legal Services Agency (LSANI) is empowered to grant or refuse Civil Legal Services and there is a right of appeal against those decisions to the Civil Legal Services Appeal Panel.  The appeals include the refusal of LSANI to grant legal aid to bring or defend proceedings and the refusal to allow solicitors to instruct counsel or expert witnesses in a case for which legal aid has been granted.  Five Panels were appointed in 2015 and the additional appointments will provide for three additional appeal panels to be established and fill vacancies which have arisen.  A reserve list is also available from this competition.  

2.  Appointments to role of Presiding Member:

  • Ciaran Harvey
    Ciaran Harvey lives in Belfast.  He was awarded a degree in Law in 1997 and was called to the Bar of NI in 1999.  He has been a practising Barrister acting mostly in the area of criminal law, defending and prosecuting serious crime in the Crown Court.  In addition he has acted in a number of high profile Public Inquiries including the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry and the Historical Abuse Inquiry.  He has also acted in family law cases including cases concerning domestic violence, and divorce, and in personal injury cases involving injury at work, road traffic cases and tripping cases.
  • Jim Kitson
    Jim Kitson lives in Newry.  He was awarded a degree in Law in 1987 and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Northern Ireland in 1990.  As a solicitor in private practice he has extensive experience dealing with all aspects of civil litigation, including matrimonial and family law, cases of domestic violence, Children Order cases, and criminal law matters.  He was the Director of Legal Services for the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and Coroner for Northern Ireland.  As Coroner he conducted investigations into unexpected deaths, including those involving consideration of legacy right to life cases, and heard numerous inquests throughout the jurisdiction.
  • Charles Redpath
    Charles Redpath lives in Waringstown.  He was admitted to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1981 and to the Roll of Solicitors in Northern Ireland in 1986 and to the Roll of Solicitors in England and Wales in 1990.  He has previously been a Master (Judge) in the Matrimonial and Probate Office and a Taxing Master involved in the taxation of costs in criminal legal aid cases, and he currently sits as a Deputy District Judge.  He has extensive experience in a range of civil legal matters including matrimonial cases, judicial review and personal injury cases.  He is a member of the Board of Governors of Hunterhouse College, including a period of six years when he chaired the Board.
  • Htaik Win
    Htaik Win lives in Belfast.  She is a member of the Law Society of England and Wales, the Law Society of Northern Ireland and the New York State Bar.  Ms Win was previously a solicitor with Madden and Finucane Solicitors and PJ McGrory solicitors.  She was also a solicitor to the Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-related deaths. She is currently a Legal Chair of the Exceptional Circumstances Body which considers applications from children in exceptional circumstances who must attend a particular school and was Vice-Chair of Citizens’ Advice Belfast Trustee Board between 2011–16.  She has been an Ordinary Member of the Civil Legal Services Appeals Panel since 2015.


3.  Appointments to role of Other Member:

  • Keith Dunn
    Keith Dunn is a Solicitor Advocate with over seven years' experience practising in the North Coast area of Northern Ireland. He has a large caseload of litigation files which include employers' liability and public liability claims, road traffic and personal injury claims, slips/trips and professional indemnity matters, representing both claimants and defendants.
  • Louisa Fee
    Louisa Fee lives in Belfast.  She has been a solicitor since September 2004.  She was employed in private practice until October 2017 where she primarily practised family law specialising in Children Order cases.  She was appointed to the Guardian ad Litem panel of solicitors in 2012.  She also had a significant divorce and ancillary relief caseload.  She assisted persons arrested and detained by police for Interview.  In November 2017 she took up the position of legal advisor to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and was subsequently appointed as Director of Legal Services in October 2018.
  • Kristina Gordon
    Kristina Gordon lives in Holywood.   She became a solicitor in 2000 and is an Advanced Advocate.  She specialises in family and Children Order cases, but also has experience in personal injury cases, immigration cases and judicial reviews.  She was appointed to the Childrens' Order Panel in 2003 and the Solicitors Panel of the NI Guardian Ad Litem Agency in 2016 to represent children in public law proceedings. She is a Committee Member of the Law Society Immigration Practitioners Group and a Panel Member of the Independent Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal which considers complaints by the Law Society against individual solicitors.  
  • Johanna Higgins
    Johanna Higgins was called to the Bar in England and Wales and the Bar in NI and the Bar in Dublin.  In private practice at the Bar she dealt with a range of civil cases including family and matrimonial, Children Order and personal injury cases in all court tiers.  She left private practice and worked as a Legal Officer with legal aid making decisions on legal aid applications, later she worked for the for the Law Centre NI as the Community Care Lawyer and then became a Senior Public Prosecutor in the Public Prosecution Service from 2001 . She left the Civil Service in 2015 after which she became an independent adjudicator and Alternative Dispute Resolution Official on several legal adjudication panels for the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution, London.  She is a Member of the Historic Buildings Committee which is sponsored by the Department of Communities and makes decisions with the Board on the listing of buildings in NI and advises on legal matters. She was elected as a member of the Royal Historical Society, London in 2018. 
  • Steven Millar
    Steven Millar lives in Belfast.  He has been a solicitor in private practice since 1989. He has many years’ experience of general practice (including family law and matrimonial cases involving divorce, ancillary relief and domestic violence.) He has gained extensive experience in personal injury claims both in the County Court and High Court including road traffic accidents, employer’s liability claims,  medical negligence claims and in more recent years Commercial Litigation in the Commercial Court.

    He has been a course tutor at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queens University since 1995 in all aspects of litigation including Insolvency.

    He is a Past Chairman and current Committee Member of the Belfast Solicitors Association (which represents over 600 members in the Belfast area). He is also a member  of the Law Society Remuneration Panel dealing with disputed costs, a Member of the Legally Able Group of the Law Society created to assist and provide support to those with disabilities in the profession and Court users, a Member of the Law Society Elder Law Group dealing with issues concerning the elderly and the law and a member of the Law Society`s Clinical Negligence Practitioners group which deals with all aspects of medico legal issues affecting the profession.

    He is also Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of his former Grammar school and sits on several sub Committees dealing with the management and operation of the school.
  • Anne Mullan
    Anne Mullan lives in Omagh.  She became a solicitor in 2004 and has worked in several areas of law.  In private practice she had responsibility for the matrimonial department bringing and defending petitions for divorce and ancillary relief.  She also specialised in both private and public Children Order cases.  She subsequently became a Legal Officer with the Policy and Legislation Department of NI Courts Service where she conducted research and examination of issues relating to civil policy, including family law, as well as preparing draft legislation.  She was then selected for secondment to the Official Solicitor’s Office where she represented minors in family law proceedings.  She has been employed as a Public Prosecutor since 2008 with experience in all areas of criminal law, but has a particular interest in domestic violence cases.  She is a member of the Board of Governors of the local primary school.
  • Sean O’Hare
    Sean O’Hare lives in Belfast.  He has been a Barrister since 1997 after a number of years as a solicitor in private practice. During his career he has attained a reputation for expertise in criminal defence work at all levels including complex fraud cases, sexual offences, serious assaults and murder trials. He has also appeared in in extradition and immigration proceedings, various civil matters as well as matrimonial and family cases at all court tiers.

    In June 2013 he was appointed a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) where he sits in all types of criminal and domestic cases and presides over both Family Proceedings and Youth Courts where he hears cases with a panel of lay magistrates to decide all relevant issues.
  • Deep Sagar
    Deep Sagar is based in Hertfordshire. His background is in the private sector with senior management roles such as general manager in Coca-Cola. Among the roles he currently fulfils are Board Member of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority which governs the port closest to the border, Board Member of Cafcass which advises family law courts and Member of Employment Tribunal deciding employment disputes. Previously, he was a Member of the Parole Board and Chair of Hertfordshire Probation and has therefore a good understanding of domestic abuse and related issues.

4.  All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office 028 9052 6444.  Out of office hours, please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110

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