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(1) The Director must determine whether an individual qualifies under this Part for civil legal services in accordance with—
(a) section 21 (financial resources) and regulations under that section, and
(b) criteria set out in regulations made under this paragraph.
(2) In setting the criteria, the Lord Chancellor—
(a) must consider the circumstances in which it is appropriate to make civil legal services available under this Part, and
(b) must, in particular, consider the extent to which the criteria ought to reflect the factors in subsection (3).
(3) Those factors are—
(a) the likely cost of providing the services and the benefit which may be obtained by the services being provided,
(b) the availability of resources to provide the services,
(c) the appropriateness of applying those resources to provide the services, having regard to present and likely future demands for the provision of civil legal services under this Part,
(d) the importance for the individual of the matters in relation to which the services would be provided,
(e) the nature and seriousness of the act, omission, circumstances or other matter in relation to which the services are sought,
(f) the availability to the individual of services provided other than under this Part and the likelihood of the individual being able to make use of such services,
(g) if the services are sought by the individual in relation to a dispute, the individual's prospects of success in the dispute,
(h) the conduct of the individual in connection with services made available under this Part or an application for such services,
(i) the conduct of the individual in connection with any legal proceedings or other proceedings for resolving disputes about legal rights or duties, and
(j) the public interest.
(4) In setting the criteria, the Lord Chancellor must seek to secure that, in cases in which more than one form of civil legal service could be provided for an individual, the individual qualifies under this Part for the form of service which in all the circumstances is the most appropriate having regard to the criteria.
(5) The criteria must reflect the principle that, in many disputes, mediation and other forms of dispute resolution are more appropriate than legal proceedings.
(6) Regulations under subsection (1)(b) may provide that no criteria apply in relation to a prescribed description of individual or services.
To be appointed: see s 151(1).
This section does not extend to Scotland: see s 152(1).