As I read HRA s 8(1) and (2), family courts judges should not be dealing with these cases at all. Legal aid for care proceedings in the family courts is one thing. Legal aid for damages should be in a separate court under CPR 1998. Proceedings should be by separate judicial review application in the Administrative Court.”
Human Rights Act 1998 claims and care proceedings
A controversy is developing between two Family Division judges – Cobb J and Keehan J – over whether the legal aid statutory charge applies to damages recovered by children and their parents under Human Rights Act 1998 (‘HRA’) s 8. The Lord Chancellor (ie Legal Aid Agency) does not seem to know which way to jump. In P v A Local Authority  EWHC (Fam) she said the charge applied, and lost; and in H (A Minor) v Northamptonshire County Council & Anor  EWHC 282 (Fam) she decided it did not. Both were cases of Keehan J).
The problem arises in particular in relation to claims following care proceedings (though it could arise in other family proceedings where the public authority is Child Support Agency, or HM Courts and Tribunal Service (for delay in court proceedings) or LAA itself). In cases…
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