Can the Statutory Charge be waived or postponed ?
The Legal Aid Agency does have a discretion to waive their right to claim back the payment of your legal costs, if you recover or hang on to property or money whilst being advised under the Legal Help Scheme. Ask your solicitor about this.
However, your legal costs incurred under a Legal Representation Certificate cannot be waived, except:
i) Where the proceedings were considered to have a significant wider public interest, or
ii) Where it was considered cost effective to fund legal representation for certain claimants, but not others who might benefit.
The costs can however be postponed. This means that the Agency will not claim the money back immediately, but instead they will register a Charge on your property, (this is a little like a mortgage). The Agency will only postpone the charge in this way if the property to be charged is your home or your children's home or the money is to be used to buy a home for yourself or your children.
The Agency will recover their costs if and when you sell your property. However, they charge interest on the outstanding amount, currently 8%.
You can pay off the outstanding amount by instalments, if the Agency agrees. When you have paid all the outstanding amounts the charge will be taken off your property.
Questions & Answers
- What is Legal Aid?
- Is Everyone entitled to Legal Aid?
- How do I show I cannot pay for my case?
- What is disposable income?
- What is meant by capital?
- Do I get something for nothing?
- Can the Statutory Charge be waived or postponed?
- Can I apply for Legal Aid on behalf of someone else?
- Are there any other schemes under which I might get free or cheap legal advice?
- Are there any cases for which Legal Aid is not available?