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Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) is intended to offer a legal aid ‘safety net’ for cases in which legal aid is not normally available. Unlike other forms of legal aid, applications for ECF funding can be made by individuals but they will often need help with completing the forms and providing evidence to support their applications. PLP is offering this training so that front-line organisations who want to help their clients obtain legal aid have the knowledge to effectively support them. It is also open to legal aid providers and lawyers wanting to assist their clients.

The training runs from 14.00 – 17.00 i.e. three hours with a short break and is led by PLP’s Joe Vester and Joseph Markus of Garden Court North.
PLEASE NOTE we will offer a sandwich lunch from 13.00 for attendees.  Fees are £30 + VAT for voluntary sector organisations, £60 + VAT for those in private practice.

The training is suitable for:
• Voluntary sector advisers
• Caseworkers and Paralegals
• Pro Bono lawyers
• Solicitors

For relevant CPD competencies related to the new SRA/BSB schemes click here.

ECF can be applied for in any area of law where neither civil nor criminal legal aid is available, including immigration, family and employment cases. You do not have to be a lawyer to assist your client with an application for ECF and the OISC does not regard assisting a person to apply for ECF for an immigration matter to require OISC regulation.

Since the implementation of LASPO in 2013, PLP has made over 100 applications for ECF, and obtained funding for legal aid providers, individuals without representation and organisations without a legal aid contract. Growing numbers of people are applying for – and obtaining – ECF with 479 applications made in July – September 2016, the highest number in any quarter since the scheme was introduced. 46% of decisions in the same quarter resulted in ECF being granted – rising to 58% in immigration cases.

Changes to the merits regulations and to what the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) should count as ‘exceptional’, as well as new Guidance and new ECF procedures, including the possibility of funding to cover investigations into ECF, mean that the application procedure is more accessible than it used to be.

The training will assist advisers in both the voluntary sector and private practice in making the scheme work for clients, maximising your client’s chance of success when dealing with the LAA in making ECF applications. It will cover the application process, the relevant forms, what information and documents to provide, and how to identify cases which are more likely to be granted funding.
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Please note that this course will not cover applications for ECF in inquest cases.

For both SRA and BSB CPD it is now your responsibility to review, record, reflect and report on the activities you have decided you require to develop.

For SRA continuing professional development (CPD) 
this course offers:
Greater knowldege and understanding of legal aid funding in the UK
Improved knowledge of how to get access to justice (especially for those advising in areas where legal aid has been withdrawn, or was never available).
The application of EU Law, convention articles 6 & 8 (Right to a fair trial/hearing and right to a private and family life) and Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Bar Standards continuing development

This course could be headed under any of the following (depending on what the intended application may be):

  • Legal knowledge and skills
  • Practice Management
  • Working with clients and others