““32 … Whatever the limitations of civil funding, public funding in contempt cases is available under the criminal scheme. The key provision is regulation 9(v) of the Criminal Legal Aid (General) Regulations 2013, SI 2013/9, which says:
“The following proceedings are criminal proceedings for the purposes of section 14(h) of the [Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012] (criminal proceedings) –
(v) any other proceedings that involve the determination of a criminal charge for the purposes of Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.””
I have written several times about the problems in obtaining representation and funding for civil committal proceedings. The judgement of the Court of Appeal yesterday in Devon County Council -v- Kirk  EWCA Civ 1221 exemplifies the difficulties and dangers. It also shows the tenacity of counsel, acting pro bono.” It shows the failure of a system.
“Of greatest concern, however, is the fact that, in circumstances where she should never have been committed at all, Mrs Kirk languished in prison for almost seven weeks before being released. And, as my Lord has pointedly observed, how much longer might she have remained there had Mr Challenger not intervened and been so tenacious in his pursuit of her release? A proper system should not permit this to happen. The fact that it did happen here suggests that the systems in place are not adequate.”
The Court of…
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