HC Deb 13 December 2000 vol 359 c166W
Mr. Stephen O'Brien

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on the procedures for challenging abuse of public funds through the maladministration of legal aid. [141641]

Mr. Lock

If a litigant believes that their opponent should not have been granted public funding, they can make representations to the Legal Services Commission. If the Commission agrees that, in the light of new information, the case no longer meets the qualifying criteria, it will move to discharge or revoke the certificate. The funded client has an opportunity to argue against the withdrawal of funding, and a formal right of appeal, after which the Commission's decision is final.

If, after this, the unassisted party still believes that funding should not have been granted and that the Commission's decision was wrong, they can make a complaint to the Commission and ask for compensation. They can also (as with all public bodies) ask their MP to refer a complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration. If the Commission or the Parliamentary Commissioner finds that there was maladministration, the Commission will offer compensation for any losses that are attributable to it.

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