Public funding in care proceedings
Produced in partnership with Claire Cousin of Dodds Solicitors LLP
Public funding in care proceedings

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Claire Cousin of Dodds Solicitors LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Public funding in care proceedings
  • Who is eligible for public funding in care proceedings?
  • What does a party’s legal aid certificate cover within proceedings?
  • Where is the information contained with respect to public funding?
  • What difficulties can a local authority come up against when involved in proceedings where the respondents are publicly funded?
  • How does a publicly funded party obtain approval for a course of action within proceedings?
  • What if the LAA refuses to fund a course of action within care proceedings which is supported by the court?

Public funding in care proceedings is provided for parties by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) who are an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

Public funding involves the relevant party’s solicitor applying for and being granted by the LAA, a legal aid certificate. Once granted, the legal aid certificate allows the solicitor to undertake work on behalf of the publicly funded client with the solicitor’s costs being reimbursed by the LAA at the conclusion of the case.

Who is eligible for public funding in care proceedings?

The following are automatically eligible for public funding in an application by a local authority for a care or supervision order without having to satisfy a means or merits test:

  1. biological parents of the subject children of the care proceedings

  2. persons who hold parental responsibility for the subject children (for example through child arrangements order, special guardianship order or adoption order)

  3. children who are the subject of the proceedings

Other persons who are connected to the child may be eligible for public funding in care proceedings provided they can satisfy a means and merits test which is set by the LAA.

The means test requires that the person applying for public funding is financially eligible to receive it. The merits test requires that the LAA are satisfied that there is sufficient merit to the party’s