Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2014] All ER (D) 204 (Jan)
Neutral Citation: [2014] UKSC 4
Court: Supreme Court
Judge:

Lord Neuberger P, Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke, Lord Reed and Lord Hodge

Representation Ronan Lavery QC and Conan Fegan BL (instructed by McGuigan Malone Solicitors) for the defendant.
  John F Larkin QC, David Scoffield QC and Peter Coll BL (instructed by Departmental Solicitor's Office) for the Department of Justice.
Judgment Dates: 29 January 2014

Catchwords

Legal aid - Counsel's fees - Legal aid certificate - Northern Ireland rules regarding legal aid for Crown Court proceedings previously providing for payment to be made above standard rate if case presenting exceptional difficulty - Amendment to those rules removing exceptionality provision - Whether failure of relevant rule making body to consider need to provide for payment for preparatory work undertaken by new legal representative payment rendering rules unlawful and ultra vires their powers - Legal Aid, Advice and Assistance (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 (, - Legal Aid for Crown Court Proceedings (Costs) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2005, - Legal Aid for Crown Court Proceedings (Costs) (Amendment) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2011, SR 2011/152.

The Case

Legal aid Counsel's fees. The defendant had dispensed of his legal team prior to his sentencing hearing. He challenged the failure of the rule making body to devise, as it was required to do by art 37 of the Legal Aid, Advice and Assistance (Northern Ireland) Order 1981, ) (the 1981 Order), rules that prescribed payments to be made which reflected the time and skill necessary to carry out particular types of criminal legal aid work, in the case at issue, preparatory work undertaken by a new legal representative with regard to the sentencing hearing. The Supreme Court allowed his appeal on the basis that that failure had rendered the rules which had amended the 1981 Order, to that extent unlawful and ultra vires their powers under art 36 of that order.

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