How to appeal against a civil means assessment that you or your client disagree with.
Where a means assessment refusal results in a certificate being revoked, the client and/or the solicitor will have the opportunity to submit an appeal/review.
The Legal Aid Agency would prefer any appeal/review of any assessment to be uploaded onto CCMS via the solicitor but an appeal/review can be requested by letter or email. The correspondence should include the case reference number and indicate which aspect or figures in the assessment are not accepted. Where possible, evidence of the correct figures should be provided.
How it works
The means assessment will be reviewed internally.
The assessment will be adjusted if it is clear that either an error was made, or the additional information now provided justifies a change to the assessment.
If the assessment is considered to be correct, the appeal/review will be refused.
There is no right of review to an adjudicator to appeal a means assessment.
If a certificate has been revoked and the assessment is adjusted, the reviewer will also consider whether the certificate should remain revoked.
Where the certificate remains revoked, the reviewer will provide reasons to the client/solicitor. You will then have the option of appealing the revocation to an adjudicator where a right of appeal exists. If no right of appeal exists, you will be informed of this.
Independent funding adjudicator (IFA)
If the appeal is referred to the IFA, it will make a decision based on the existing legal aid regulations. The IFA may contact your client, if appropriate.
The decision is then returned to the regional office administering that particular appeal.
If the IFA advises the Legal Aid Agency to amend a revoked certificate then, subject to all the regulations and means assessment criteria being met, a discharged or live certificate will be issued and you and your client notified.
Where the IFA supports the decision to revoke a certificate, a letter of refusal, citing the grounds given by the IFA, will be issued.