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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Public Funding for penalty hearings: when is Public Funding available?

Public Funding (formerly Legal Aid) is available for taxpayers in certain cases before the First-tier Tribunal.

Funding may be granted when

  • the proceeding concern penalties which the courts have declared to be criminal within the terms specified by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) or when an application seeks to argue the issue, and
  • it is in the interests of justice for an applicant to be legally represented, and
  • the applicant satisfies the means test.The leaflet in both English and Welsh explains in more detail when Public Funding may be due. Decisions on funding are made by the Legal Services Commission.

Public Funding is not available for proceedings before the First-tier Tribunal in Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are separate legal systems in those countries. The Community Legal Service has responsibility for Public Funding for legal services in England and Wales.